The news broke Thursday via the Canadian-born music icon's Facebook page, with a statement reading:
"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."
"Suzanne" (1967) and "Hallelujah" (1984) are among the best-known songs from Cohen's 40-plus-year career; the latter tune reached huge audiences in 1994 when it was gorgeously covered by singer Jeff Buckley (for more on that song's fascinating saga, listen to this). In terms of pure lyricism, Cohen is matched perhaps only by Bob Dylan.
“When people talk about Leonard, they fail to mention his melodies, which to me, along with his lyrics, are his greatest genius,” Dylan said of his deep-voiced contemporary last month in a terrific New Yorker profile of Cohen. “Even the counterpoint lines -- they give a celestial character and melodic lift to every one of his songs. As far as I know, no one else comes close to this in modern music."
The often reclusive Cohen was inducted into the Rock and Roll of Fame in 2008. Two years later, he won the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. You Want It Darker, Cohen's 14th and final album, arrived last month to critical raves.
Among the other music heroes who died this year: Prince, David Bowie, Merle Haggard, Motörhead's Lemmy Kilmister, George "5th Beatle" Martin, Bobby Vee, and so many others.
We also witnessed the election Tuesday of Donald J. Trump, devastating millions of Americans and spurring angry protests around the country. Like this one, happening right now in Minneapolis.
In short, 2016 can fuck right off.