As a young poet living on Saint-Laurent Boulevard in Montréal in the late ‘50s, Leonard Cohen acknowledged he could never make a living from his words. He also acknowledged that he couldn’t sing, but when he put his words to music, the result was an elegance of style and over time the whole world applauded and listened with an intensity few have known from the stage.
The Canadian singer, songwriter, poet and novelist Leonard Norman Cohen put his pen down for the last time yesterday and died peaceably at age 82.
The news was made official on his Facebook page, informing the world, that: “It is with profound sorrow we report that legendary poet, songwriter and artist Leonard Cohen has passed away. We have lost one of music’s most revered and prolific visionaries.
A memorial will take place in Los Angeles at a later date. The family requests privacy during their time of grief.”
As word of Cohen’s death spread, tributes poured in from around the globe -- from heads of state, music industry executives, and the great many musicians and writers who were deeply influenced by his rich body of work.
Obituaries from leading newspapers and magazines quickly appeared online.
In a press release headed SOCAN Mourns the Passing of Leonard Cohen: Legendary songwriter-member touched millions of lives worldwide, SOCAN – the Society of Composers, Authors & Music Publishers of Canada – issued the following statement:
"SOCAN expresses its deep sadness after the passing of Leonard Cohen, one of the organization's most iconic members, at the age of 82.
Born in the Westmount area of Montréal, Cohen was the creator of hundreds of works, including international classic songs such as "Suzanne," "Tower of Song," and "Hallelujah." He was honoured numerous times for works that achieved official SOCAN Classic status, and he was celebrated at the SOCAN Awards in Toronto and the Gala de la SOCAN in Montréal on numerous occasions.
"Leonard Cohen was a legend among legends," said Eric Baptiste, CEO of SOCAN. "With iconic songs that defined an entire era, he inspired many generations all over the world. SOCAN was honoured to count him among our most prominent members. He will be sorely missed, but his songs will live on."
Leonard Cohen's connection with and love for his hometown of Montréal remained strong throughout his life. "One could run into Leonard Cohen at Bagel etc. on St-Laurent Blvd, in the heart of the Mile-End, having breakfast at the counter, a stone's throw away from his apartment," said Geneviève Côté, SOCAN Chief Québec Affairs Officer. "Montréal was where he was born and, even though he belongs to the global music community, he was québécois and should be remembered that way."
Cohen was a member of SOCAN for more than four decades, and Canada's largest music organization collected royalties for his music catalog played worldwide."
Sony Music Entertainment Canada gave this official statement:
“Leonard Cohen was an unparalleled artist whose stunning body of original work has been embraced by generations of fans and artists alike. We are proud and feel extremely privileged to have celebrated his artistry over a career-spanning six decades. The Sony Music Canada family joins the world in mourning Leonard Cohen’s passing.”
Shane Carter, President, Sony Music Entertainment Canada, added that, "Leonard Cohen left an indelible legacy and his artistry will be cherished around the world. We join with his millions of fans in expressing our profound sadness and offer our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones."
Leonard Cohen's son Adam, producer of Leonard's final album, You Want It Darker, commented, "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. He was writing up until his last moments with his unique brand of humour."
Veteran Canadian music journalist Larry LeBlanc noted, "I'm gutted by Leonard's death. I worked for him in the '70s and we stayed in touch. I had lunch with him last year in LA and we laughed for 2 1/2 hours. The world kinda missed how funny Leonard could be. I'm in Tel Aviv right now and it's 5 AM. I know this news will resonate here as it will everywhere. Shit. He really was too young and too valuable to die. Ever."
Netanyahu recalls Leonard Cohen's Yom Kippur War contribution -- Jerusalem Post
From the archives: Leonard Cohen: Life of a ladies' man -- Globe & Mail
Leonard Cohen: A Final Interview -- New Yorker