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Singer Revered by Kurt Cobain Dead at 58

Daniel Johnston cranked out dozens of albums
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 12, 2019 6:37 AM CDT

(Newser) – His iconic "Jeremiah the Innocent" frog graces the corner of Guadalupe and 21st streets in Austin, his struggles with mental illness were well-documented, and his songs have been covered and revered by everyone from the Flaming Lips and Kurt Cobain to Tom Waits. Now, Texas and the entire musical world mourn singer-songwriter and visual artist Daniel Johnston, dead at age 58, Fox News reports. His family announced his death online, noting he died of natural causes at his Houston-area home. Per the New York Times, Johnston had been released from the hospital Tuesday after kidney issues. "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," the Wednesday Facebook statement read.

That output included 17 studio albums as well as several compilation, tribute, and live recordings, per the Austin Chronicle. His struggles with manic depression and schizophrenia took center stage in the 2005 documentary The Devil and Daniel Johnston, which won a Sundance award for director Jeff Feuerzeig. Meanwhile, in 1993 Johnston was commissioned to turn Jeremiah the Innocent, the frog that graces the cover of his Hi, How Are You album, into Austin street art. The Chronicle reports there's still at least one more full-length LP of original Johnston tunes waiting to be released. On Facebook, brother Dick Johnston notes, "Health issues have plagued us for years, but I'm glad for the time we had." The statement adds: "One thing we know to be true in this sad time, in Daniel's words, 'True love will find you in the end.'" (Read more obituary stories.)

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