Celebrities and fans have been paying tribute online following the confirmation that Leonard Cohen, the Canadian singer-songwriter who brought us such classics as Hallelujah and Bird on a Wire, has passed away at the age of 82.
“My father passed away peacefully at his home in Los Angeles with the knowledge that he had completed what he felt was one of his greatest records,” his son Adam told Rolling Stone.
“He was writing up until his last moments with his unique brand of humour.”
“Unmatched in his creativity, insight and crippling candor, Leonard Cohen was a true visionary whose voice will be sorely missed," his manager Robert Kory wrote in a statement.
“I was blessed to call him a friend, and for me to serve that bold artistic spirit firsthand, was a privilege and great gift. He leaves behind a legacy of work that will bring insight, inspiration and healing for generations to come.”
Cohen, also recognised across the globe as a poet and novelist, has since been praised by Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, who released a formal statement upon learning of the artist’s death.
It read: “A most remarkable Montrealer, Leonard Cohen managed to reach the highest of artistic achievement, both as an acclaimed poet and a world-renowned singer-songwriter. He will be fondly remembered for his gruff vocals, his self-deprecating humour and the haunting lyrics that made his songs the perennial favourite of so many generations.
“Leonard Cohen is as relevant today as he was in the 1960s. His ability to conjure the vast array of human emotion made him one of the most influential and enduring musicians ever. His style transcended the vagaries of fashion.
“Leonard Cohen was made a Companion of the Order of Canada in 2003 and received many artistic honours during his lifetime, including being inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame, and the American Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.”
Trudeau continued: “He received a Lifetime Achievement Grammy in 2010 and was awarded the Glenn Gould Prize for lifetime achievement in the arts in 2011. In 2013, with a career already spanning more than fifty years, he won Junos as Artist of the Year and Songwriter of the Year for his 2012 album Old Ideas. His music had withstood the test of time.
“On behalf of all Canadians, Sophie and I wish to express our deepest sympathies to Leonard Cohen’s family, friends, colleagues and many, many fans.
“Leonard, no other artist's poetry and music felt or sounded quite like yours. We'll miss you.”
And, as Canada enters a state of mourning for one of their most beloved stars, others have reached out on social media to pay tribute.
JK Rowling quoted Cohen’s lyrics from Anthem, writing simply: “There is a crack in everything… that’s how the light gets in.”
Justin Timberlake, meanwhile, praised Cohen as “a spirit and soul beyond compare”.
Lily Allen tweeted: “As if the week could get any worse. Thank you Leonard Cohen, for all things. Rest in peace.”
American singer-songwriter Regina Spektor added: “Such sad news… thanks for what your music has done for humanity. Kindness, love, beauty, poetry.”
Russell Crowe, famed for his stints in Gladiator and Les Mis, wrote: “Dear Leonard Cohen, thanks for the quiet nights, the reflection, the perspective, the wry smiles and the truth.”
Mia Farrow, meanwhile, echoed JK Rowling’s message of condolence.
“Leonard Cohen has died. Another magical voice stilled,” wrote Bette Midler.
“Listen to Jeff Buckley sing Hallelujah by the late, great Leonard Cohen,” added Jamie Lee Curtis.
However no words can match those of Cohen himself.
The singer sent a beautiful final letter earlier this year to his life-long muse Marianne Ihlen, the subject of his song So Long Marianne.
Jan Christian Mollestad, a documentary-maker and friend of Ihlen, shared a letter Cohen had written to her shortly before she died on 29 July at the age of 81.
Shared in full on The Guardian, it reads: “Well Marianne, it’s come to this time when we are really so old and our bodies are falling apart and I think I will follow you very soon.
“Know that I am so close behind you that if you stretch out your hand, I think you can reach mine.”
It continued: “And you know that I’ve always loved you for your beauty and your wisdom, but I don’t need to say anything more about that because you know all about that.
“But now, I just want to wish you a very good journey. Goodbye old friend. Endless love, see you down the road.”
Cohen, who never married, is survived by his daughter, Lorca, and son, Adam.
Images: Rex Pictures