Daniel Johnston, the revered cult singer-songwriter who made an indelible mark on indie music with often harrowingly handsome songs, has died after suffering a heart attack, the Austin Chronicle reports.
As The Austin Chronicle reports, Johnston suffered a heart attack yesterday evening (September 10). Towards the tail end of the '80s/early '90s, Johnston's mental health began to deteriorate, eventually landing him in a mental hospital. Tom Waits, Yo La Tengo, Bright Eyes and many other bands covered Johnston's achingly honest songs of alienation. The project is named for one of Johnston's albums.
Johnston released 17 albums amid his battles with mental illness, including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
In 2005, he was the subject of a documentary, The Devil and Daniel Johnston, that traced his artmaking and his significant struggles; the film won the documentary directing award at Sundance that year.
Johnston moved to Austin in the 80s, and made that city his artistic center, setting up his own label there (Eternal Yip Eye Music), and even creating a "Hi, How Are You" Frog mural at Guadalupe & 21st Street, along Austin's famed The Drag.
Nirvana's Kurt Cobain brought attention to Johnston's music by sporting the artwork of his 1983 album Hi, How Are You on a T-shirt.
As he had the opportunity to release his music wider, Johnston developed a devoted cult following that included major names in music, from Kurt Cobain to Tom Waits to Beck.
His final tour took place in 2017, where he was supported by the likes of Jeff Tweedy & Friends, Built To Spill, the Preservation All-Stars, Ben Lee, the Districts and Modern Baseball. "Day" in his honor, on his birthday.