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Singer-songwriter Daniel Johnston dead at 58

Singer-songwriter Daniel Johnston has died, his family announced Wednesday. He was 58.

According to a statement posted on Facebook, Johnston died of natural causes at his Houston-area home.

“Daniel was a singer, songwriter, an artist, and a friend to all,” the statement read. “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.'”


The late visual artist — whose offbeat career brought him a cult following — had been plagued for years with health issues, according to his brother, Dick Johnston.

“I always wanted Danny to feel like his own person, and in control of his own life,” Dick said. “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 honor 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.”

Musicians such as Kurt Cobain and Tom Waits, as well as “The Simpsons” creator Matt Groening, are among those who have expressed a fondness for Johnston’s work. His songs like “Life in Vain,” ”True Love Will Find You in the End” and “Walking the Cow” often contained innocent pleas for love.


Johnston’s struggles with manic depression formed the heart of the Oscar-nominated 2005 documentary “The Devil and Daniel Johnston.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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