Cyprus Mail

Cohen, music’s poetic visionary, died in his sleep after fall

Musician Leonard Cohen takes the stage as he is honored at the 2012 Awards for Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence in Boston

Songwriter and poet Leonard Cohen died in his sleep after a fall in his Los Angeles home in the middle of the night, his manager has said.

“The death was sudden, unexpected, and peaceful,” his manager Robert Kory said in a statement published on the Cohen centric website.

Cohen, music’s man of letters whose songs fused religious imagery with themes of redemption and sexual desire, died on Nov 7. He was 82. No cause was given for his death when it was announced three days later on his Facebook page.

Cohen has been buried in Montreal in an unadorned pine box next to his mother and father, his son Adam said on Facebook on Sunday.

“As I write this I’m thinking of my father’s unique blend of self-deprecation and dignity, his approachable elegance, his charisma without audacity, his old-world gentlemanliness and the hand-forged tower of his work,” Adam Cohen wrote.

Born into a Jewish family in 1934 and raised in an affluent English-speaking neighbourhood of Quebec, Cohen read Spanish poet Federico García Lorca as a teenager – later naming his daughter Lorca. He learned to play guitar from a flamenco musician and formed a country band called the Buckskin Boys.

Cohen moved to New York in 1966 at age 31 to break into the music business. Before long, critics were comparing him with Bob Dylan for the lyrical force of his songwriting.

Although he influenced many musicians and won many honours, including induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and the Order of Canada, Cohen rarely made the pop music charts with his sometimes moody folk-rock.

His most ardent admirers compared his works to spiritual prophecy. He sang about religion, with references to Jesus Christ and Jewish traditions, as well as love and sex, political upheaval, regret and what he once called the search for “a kind of balance in the chaos of existence”.

Cohen’s most famous song, “Hallelujah,” in which he invoked the biblical King David and drew parallels between physical love and a desire for spiritual connection, has been covered hundreds of times since he released it in 1984.

Cohen’s other well-known songs include “Suzanne,” “So Long, Marianne,” “Famous Blue Raincoat” and “The Future,” an apocalyptic 1992 recording in which he darkly intoned: “I’ve seen the future, brother/It is murder.”

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