More Details About Leonard Cohen’s Death Revealed
Leonard Cohen died a week ago, leaving another big hole in the world of music,… 2016 has been a disastrous series of huge losses, starting with Bowie, then Prince, Merle Haggard, and recently Leon Russell, knowing that I am only mentioning the most famous ones as there is a long list of casualties.
In the case of Cohen, very little had been said about the cause of his death so far, but we now know a little more about the sad circumstances. On Wednesday, his manager, Robert B. Kory, made this statement to the press: ‘Leonard Cohen died during his sleep following a fall in the middle of the night on Nov. 7th. The death was sudden, unexpected and peaceful.’
Although it doesn’t change anything, this new detail does change something to me. In one of his last interviews, Leonard Cohen had made some clear allusions to his close death. ‘The big change is the proximity to death,’ he declared to the New Yorker. ‘I am a tidy kind of guy. I like to tie up the strings if I can. If I can’t, also, that’s O.K. But my natural thrust is to finish things that I’ve begun.’
‘I don’t think I’ll be able to finish those songs,’ he also said after reciting the lyrics of a new song. ‘Maybe, who knows? And maybe I’ll get a second wind, I don’t know. But I don’t dare attach myself to a spiritual strategy. I don’t dare do that. I’ve got some work to do. Take care of business. I am ready to die. I hope it’s not too uncomfortable. That’s about it for me.’
After reading this and especially a sentence like ‘I am ready to die’ out of context, it was easy to imagine that Cohen had some kind of fatal disease, and knew he was slowly dying. I even thought that his last album ‘You Want It Darker’ was another ‘BlackStar’, a final work recorded in the presence of death, just as Bowie worked on his final album knowing he was in terminal phase of liver cancer.
‘You Want it Darker’ is not exactly ‘Blackstar’ although, at 82, with a frail body and some frequent back pain, Cohen knew he was close to death. But a long disease is something else. Bowie probably knew this would be his final work, whereas the NY Times is also revealing that Cohen was working on two other musical projects and a book of poetry at the time of his death, despite his declining death. The video below shows him during a promotional event for the album at the Consulate General of Canada Los Angeles, and he even had to be helped to his seat, obviously experiencing some sign of health decline .
Leonard Cohen knew he was close to death, he didn’t die of a fatal disease like Bowie, he peacefully died in his sleep. Nevertheless both albums and their dark/black themes will weigh heavily on 2016.