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Cult US Indie Songwriter Daniel Johnston Dies, Aged 58

Written by Caitlin Medcalf on September 12, 2019

Cult indie-rock pioneer and outsider artist, Daniel Johnston, died on Wednesday following a heart attack. He was 58 years old. The news was confirmed by his manager Jeff Tartakov.

His music captured a childlike plea for love that captivated the hearts of fans and musicians alike, including Kurt Cobain and Tom Waits.

“The Johnston family is deeply saddened to announce the death of their brother, Daniel Johnston,” his family said in a statement. “He passed away from natural causes this morning at his home outside of Houston, Texas.

“Daniel was a singer, songwriter, an artist, and a friend to all. Although he struggled with mental health issues for much of his adult life, Daniel triumphed over his illness through his prolific output of art and songs. He inspired countless fans, artists, and songwriters with his message that no matter how dark the day, ‘the sun shines down on me’ and ‘true love will find you in the end.’”

Johnston continually contended with many illnesses, both mental and physical throughout his entire life. In the early ’90s, he was diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar. In the years that followed, he suffered from diabetes, hydrocephalus and kidney infections. Last year, he was hospitalised after a fall.

Johnston recorded 17 albums throughout his life. He leaves behind a legacy defined by his eccentricity as a creative and the enduring nature of his music.

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