Leonard Cohen, legendary Jewish singer and songwriter, dies at 82

The deep-voiced Jewish-Canadian artist was known for his ability to blend mystery and sexuality into his lyrics, which went beyond the usual boundaries of pop music.
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Iconic Jewish-Canadian songwriter, singer and composer Leonard Cohen passed away early Friday morning at the age of 82. The deep-voiced Cohen was renowned for his ability to blend mystery and sexuality into hit songs such as Suzanne, Hallelujah, Bird on a Wire and Dance Me to the End of Love.

Born in Montreal, Cohen published several poetry books in his younger years before going into music in the 1960s. His enigmatic second album from 1969, Songs from a Room, earned him his reputation as one of the most original and intriguing artists in his time.

In 1973, Cohen visited Israel for the first time. He performed in front of soldiers in the Sinai Peninsula during the Yom Kippur War. He later said that experience had a strong impact on him and inspired him in the writing of some songs, including Who by Fire.

Cohen perofrming in Israel in 2009 Photo credit: Channel 2 News

During the 1980s, Cohen released some of his biggest hits, most notably Hallelujah and First We Take Manhattan. His lyrics often dealt with complex issues such as religion, politics and war.

Cohen has said in an interview that the inspiration for his song Dance Me to the End of Love came from "hearing or reading or knowing that in the death camps, a string quartet was pressed into performance while this horror was going on, those were the people whose fate was this horror also. And they would be playing classical music while their fellow prisoners were being killed and burnt."

Cohen is survived by his son Adam and his daughter Lorca, who in 2011 had a baby with singer Rufus Wainwright.

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