SINGER Daniel Johnston, who was a favourite of Nirvana singer Kurt Cobain, has sadly passed away at the age of 58.

We take a look at the life of the folk musician and the legacy he left behind.

NINTCHDBPICT000521148802 - Who was Daniel Johnston and what were his biggest songs? A look at the work of the US songwriter who died aged 58
Getty – Contributor

Daniel Johnston was an American singer-songwriter and visual artist[/caption]

Who was Daniel Johnston?

Daniel Johnston was an American singer-songwriter and visual artist.

He was born in Sacramento, California, in 1961, and grew up in West Virginia.

Johnston became known as a songwriter after moving to Austin, Texas.

In the early 1990s, he suffered a manic psychotic episode during a plane flight, when he believed he was the cartoon character Casper the Friendly Ghost.

The singer threw the keys for the plane out of its window, which left him with minor injuries following the crash.

He was later diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Johnston also suffered from diabetes, kidney infections and hydrocephalus.

Johnston was also known as an artist and comic-book writer.

His career inspired an Oscar nominated documentary The Devil and Daniel Johnston in 2005.

NINTCHDBPICT000521148926 - Who was Daniel Johnston and what were his biggest songs? A look at the work of the US songwriter who died aged 58
Getty – Contributor

According to a statement issued by his family, Johnston died from a heart attack on Tuesday, September 10, 2019, at his home[/caption]

What was Daniel Johnston’s cause of death?

According to a statement issued by his family, Johnston passed away from a heart attack on Tuesday, September 10, at home.

His family said in a statement: “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 that ‘the sun shines down on me’ and ‘true love will find you in the end’.”

NINTCHDBPICT000521148796 - Who was Daniel Johnston and what were his biggest songs? A look at the work of the US songwriter who died aged 58
Getty – Contributor

Johnston recorded 17 albums in all, and last year said he had been recording material for a new LP[/caption]

His brother, Dick Johnston, said Daniel had been plagued for years with health issues.

He said: “I always wanted Danny to feel like his own person, and in control of his own life.

“Since beginning to work and travel with him in about 2003, we gratefully were able to travel the entire globe for over a decade to get out before the fans.

“He was always, everywhere, warmly received and he at least knew he was well loved. Health issues have plagued us for years, but I’m glad for the time we had.”

Tom Gimbel, Daniel’s manager of over 25 years also paid tribute to him, writing: “I am so saddened by the news of Daniel’s passing.

“It has been the greatest honour and privilege of my professional life to work with Daniel Johnston – someone who I consider to be one of the greatest songwriting geniuses of our time.

“In our time together Daniel was more than an artist; he was a friend, he was family. I will miss him greatly but will smile every time I hear his songs.”

What were his biggest songs?

Johnston began his career recording music on cassette tapes at home.

The American singer was most famous for his songs Life In Vain, True Love Will Find You in the End and Walking the Cow.

Johnston recorded 17 albums in all, and last year said he had been recording material for a new LP.

His albums include a trio of home-recorded tapes from 1983: More Songs of Pain, Yip/Jump Music, and Hi, How Are You.

Johnston’s fans include Nirvana singer Kurt Cobain, who once described him as one of the “greatest” songwriters of all time.

His songs have been covered by bands such as Death Cab For Cutie, Bright Eyes, Beck and Flaming Lips.


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