Very sad news today, folks: according to the Austin Chronicle, legendary Austin musician Daniel Johnston - a one-of-a-kind singer/songwriter whose work has been covered by Tom Waits, Yo La Tengo, The Flaming Lips, and countless other musicians - passed away today at the age of 58. "I think he was a true genius", said Gimbel.
Johnston's family and Gimbel said he died of natural causes. The singer-songwriter, who was born in West Virginia but was considered an iconic part of the Austin, Texas music scene, died Tuesday evening.
Johnston released 17 albums amid his battles with mental illness, including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
Johnston had been working on a new album with Austin-based producer Brian Beattie for "years" he told the Chronicle and Vulture reported in April that the album would be titled "If". Johnston's last album, 2012's "Space Ducks", featured a slew of guest musicians including Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Eleanor Friedberger, Deer Tick, Fruit Bats, and Lavender Diamond.
Johnston continued to write and record, however, and his profile rose again after the release of Jeff Feuerzeig's documentary The Devil and Daniel Johnston.
Interest in Johnston was revived by the documentary, which won the Director's Award at Sundance in 2005, and the exposure allowed Johnston to tour extensively.
Johnston's famous "Hi, how are you?" mural on Austin's "Drag" (a portion of Guadalupe St. adjacent to UT/Austin), named for his landmark 1983 album of the same title, is beloved among fans and passersby alike.
In keeping with the city's long appreciation of live music, the festivities a concert. "At different points of the same show, there would be heart rendering beauty - these incredible lyrics that would move people to tears - and then there could be comical moments and then something could happen and it would just be a disaster, but I think that's what drew people to him".