Leonard Cohen in 1967.
Leonard Cohen in 1967.Jack Robinson—Condé Nast/Getty Images
Leonard Cohen in 1967.
Leonard Cohen performs at the Musikhalle on May 4, 1970 in Hamburg, Germany.
Leonard Cohen performs at the Isle Of Wight Festival, on Aug. 30 1970.
Leonard Cohen in April 1972 in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Leonard Cohen in April 1972 in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Leonard Cohen in London in June 1974.
Leonard Cohen on April 25, 1976 in Frankfurt, Germany.
Leonard Cohen in 1985.
Leonard Cohen Performs Live In Amsterdam
Leonard Cohen in London in 2001.
From left: Leonard Cohen, Judy Collins and Taylor Swift at the 41st Annual Songwriters Hall of Fame Ceremony on June 17, 2010 in New York City.
Leonard Cohen is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in New York City, on March 10, 2008.
Leonard Cohen and Neil Portnow, President/CEO of the Recording Academy, attend the 52nd annual GRAMMY Awards-Special Merit Awards on Jan. 30, 2010 in Los Angeles.
Leonard Cohen accepts an award presented by Salman Rushdie at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston, on Feb. 26, 2012.
Leonard Cohen at the O2 Arena on Sept. 15, 2013 in London.
Leonard Cohen in 1967.
Jack Robinson—Condé Nast/Getty Images
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See Leonard Cohen's Life in Pictures

Nov 11, 2016

Leonard Cohen was the consummate American poet. For starters, he wasn’t actually American at all, but Canadian — he moved to New York in the 1960s to try to make it as a singer — and in the truest American tradition, he took the gaze afforded to the outsider and cast it scrupulously on his new land. “The cradle of the best and of the worst,” he called it once.

He’s been compared to Ginsberg, but Whitman might be more apt: his themes were universal; his psalms were epic. Over a musical career that spanned just under half a century, Cohen — his voice never not gravelly — sang of sex, of God, of sadness, and, yes, of death.

He died Thursday night, at the age of 82. In the New Yorker’s sweeping profile of him, published last month, he said he was “ready to die”; a few days later, at a listening party for his 14th and final album You Want it Dark, he decided out loud that he’d instead stick around until he was 120.

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