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News broke last night that musical legend and beloved poet Leonard Cohen had passed away at the age of 82. The Montreal-born artist died in his Los Angeles home, with his son Adam telling Rolling Stone magazine that his father died at peace and creating art until his final moments.
Cohen’s career as a musician began to take off in the 1960s and ’70s, with his poetic lyrics and gravelly voice helping shape the folk movement along with artists like Bob Dylan, Paul Simon and fellow Canadian Joni Mitchell.
Writing numerous poetry books and releasing 14 albums, including last month’s You Want It Darker, Cohen’s career is one filled with countless awards, accolades, and famous covers that helped make him an international icon.
One of Cohen’s most famous covers is courtesy of the late Jeff Buckley, who released a cover of “Hallelujah” on his 1994 album Grace, three years before his tragic death.
With news of Cohen’s passing hitting the media last night, mourners began paying their respects at the French-Canadian artist’s home on Saint Laurent in Montreal, with fans leaving candles, flowers and messages. By 11 pm local time, approximately 200 people had gathered to pay their respects to an artist who championed his hometown throughout his career.
With timing fitting for a man regarded as one of the greatest poets of modern history, Cohen’s death comes one day before Remembrance Day. Just last year, Cohen recorded John McCrae’s “In Flanders Field” to commemorate the famous poem’s 100th anniversary. The Remembrance Day poem is also a timely reminder that in the face of difficult times in Canada and around the world, turning to art for comfort is more important now than ever.
Many celebrities took to social media today to post their messages of mourning and thanks to the late Leonard Cohen, including a number of Canadians.
Prime Minister Trudeau.
No other artist’s music felt or sounded like Leonard Cohen’s. Yet his work resonated across generations. Canada and the world will miss him.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) November 11, 2016
Singer/songwriter Alanis Morissette.
— Alanis Morissette (@Alanis) November 11, 2016
Actor Kiefer Sutherland.
A brilliant Canadian artist passed today. Leonard Cohen, rest in peace. Hallelujah.
— Kiefer Sutherland (@RealKiefer) November 11, 2016
Singer Matthew Good.
I just learned that Leonard Cohen has passed. I’ve not the words to express the monumental talent of the man. A legend. Our legend.
— Matthew Good (@mattgood) November 11, 2016
Journalist George Stomboloupolous.
Rest in peace, Leonard Cohen. Thank you. pic.twitter.com/smGaKRlfLT
— Stroumboulopoulos (@strombo) November 11, 2016
Singer/songwriter Carly Rae Jepsen.
Of course, Leonard Cohen’s impact on music and poetry was felt outside of his native Canada as well. Jennifer Hudson was one of many artists to cover Cohen’s most popular song, “Hallelujah.”
RIP Leonard Cohen. Thank you for you dedication to music, & writing one of my favorite songs to sing “Hallelujah”. https://t.co/JsTjNmmarC
— Jennifer Hudson (@IAMJHUD) November 11, 2016
Justin Timberlake posted a simple and sweet message about the late singer.
A spirit and soul beyond compare.
— Justin Timberlake (@jtimberlake) November 11, 2016
Rage Against The Machine’s Tom Morello paid his respects to one of the “greatest, deepest and wisest.”
RIP Leonard Cohen. One of the greatest, deepest and wisest to ever bless us with his songs. pic.twitter.com/zroVhSQjVk
— Tom Morello (@tmorello) November 11, 2016
Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig provided a short biography of Cohen as inspiration for those pursuing their dreams.
Leonard Cohen, what a guy
– first album at 33
– dropped “Hallelujah” at 50
– first arena shows in his 70s
He did it til the end. RIP
— Ezra Koenig (@arzE) November 11, 2016
Courtney Love posted an emotional message for Cohen, asking him to save her a seat next to her late husband and fellow poet, Kurt Cobain.
Goodbye old friend, demon cleanser, touchstone, my inspiration on everything I have ever done – I am crying for you tonight in your native land. I want to know you’re happy where you’ve landed and save me a spot next to you please.(and Kurt) I love you Leonard. I love you so much. I’m sorry I never got to tell you. Rest in peace and exultation. Xxxxx
Arcade Fire’s Win Butler shared a memory from when he first moved to his adopted home of Montreal.
Next year can only be better. Seeing Leonard Cohen walking on St Laurent street when I was 21 was enough to make me feel like I had a home
— win butler (@DJWindows98) November 11, 2016
Lin-Manuel Miranda shared his favourite piece of songwriting from Cohen.
“Like a bird on the wire
Like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried, in my way, to be free.”
— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) November 11, 2016
Beck gave thanks to Cohen for his lifetime of work.
So long Leonard, thank you for your words, your songs, your life– a gentleman a master a hero– thank you for looking so deeply, for sharing your time giving us your finely wrought diamonds, for lighting the dark corners where the soul lives, for translating the otherness we recognize but fail to express, tonight we celebrate you and send you our gratitude x
Author JK Rowling shared one of Cohen’s most famous lyrics.
“There is a crack in everything,
That’s how the light gets in.”
RIP Leonard Cohen.
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) November 11, 2016
Comedian Patton Oswlat says what many of us are thinking about this week.
Leonard Cohen dying is so goddamned symbolic right now. You just don’t let up, do you 2016?
— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) November 11, 2016
The Walking Dead’s Norman Reedus is using Cohen’s music to get through this sad day.
— norman reedus (@wwwbigbaldhead) November 11, 2016
Singer Mika listed Cohen one of the greatest writers of all time.
Leonard Cohen, Oh god. What a brilliant brilliant writer and artist. One of the finest song poets ever. In line with Goethe and Dillon
— MIKA (@mikasounds) November 11, 2016
Comedian Sarah Silverman is thankful for Cohen providing music for dark days.
RIP Leonard Cohen. Ugh. It feels pointed, this death. It’s making us remember songs like Come Healing which is a good one for these days
— Sarah Silverman (@SarahKSilverman) November 11, 2016
And Lena Dunahm used Cohen’s words to remind everyone that things will be fine.