- 11 Nov 16
The pair previously met in Dublin
President Michael D. Higgins has paid tribute to his fellow poet, Leonard Cohen, whose death was announced overnight.
“It is with great sadness that I have learnt of the death of Leonard Cohen, author, painter, poet and singer. In his timeless songs, Leonard Cohen captured not just feelings of loneliness and loss, but also the essence of human life: love, beauty, humour, as well as social and political engagement.
"His vast and diverse music repertoire has been widely recognised, receiving awards and critical acclaim, and gaining him fans around the world.
"Leonard Cohen has left a lasting legacy and his work will continue to inspire current and future generations. He was deeply influenced by William Butler Yeats and he made a very warm connection with his Irish audiences - a fact that he valued and emphasised to me when I met him in Dublin. May I convey my deepest condolences to his family, his son Adam and daughter Lorca, his friends, colleagues in music, and to all those who share an appreciation of Leonard Cohen's impressive body of work."
The flags are flying at half-mast in Montreal today, with Canadian PM Justin Trudeau saying of their favourite son: "“It is with deep sorrow that I learned today of the death of the legendary Leonard Cohen. A most remarkable Montrealer, Leonard Cohen managed to reach the highest of artistic achievement, both as an acclaimed poet and a world-renowned singer-songwriter. He will be fondly remembered for his gruff vocals, his self-deprecating humour and the haunting lyrics that made his songs the perennial favourite of so many generations.
“Leonard Cohen is as relevant today as he was in the 1960s. His ability to conjure the vast array of human emotion made him one of the most influential and enduring musicians ever. His style transcended the vagaries of fashion.
“Leonard Cohen was made a Companion of the Order of Canada in 2003 and received many artistic honours during his lifetime, including being inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame, and the American Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
“He received a Lifetime Achievement Grammy in 2010 and was awarded the Glenn Gould Prize for lifetime achievement in the arts in 2011. In 2013, with a career already spanning more than fifty years, he won Junos as Artist of the Year and Songwriter of the Year for his 2012 album Old Ideas. His music had withstood the test of time.
“On behalf of all Canadians, Sophie and I wish to express our deepest sympathies to Leonard Cohen’s family, friends, colleagues and many, many fans. Leonard, no other artist's poetry and music felt or sounded quite like yours. We'll miss you.”
And so say all of us...