Leonard Cohen Sent A Heartbreaking Letter To His Beautiful Muse Before His Death

Leonard Cohen died last week, and it hit like a punch to the gut. A prolific songwriter and poet, Mr. Cohen’s death has been mourned worldwide, from celebrities and fans alike, all of whom remember his lyrics and music as having a profound impact on their lives. Perhaps one of the most touching and heartbreaking bits to come from his passing is a letter he wrote to a former friend and muse of his.


Marianne Ihlen lived with Mr. Cohen for a bit of time in the 1960s and was the inspiration for his song So Long, Marianne in 1967. Her health was failing her this past summer, and Mr. Cohen wrote her the following note on her deathbed.

The letter is both heartbreaking and uplifting, as Mr. Cohen tells Marianne, “Know that I am so close behind you that if you stretch out your hand, I think you can reach mine.” That he would think to comfort an old friend in her time of passing with thoughts of following her is precisely the man that Leonard Cohen was: romantic, kind, empathetic, and comforting.

He was a poetic realist who confronted death not with fear or awe, but with acceptance and peace. He wrote often of the thousand heartbreaks that come in life, but one gets the sense that he saw death as a transition away from them, as a blissful darkness after a long and brilliant life of light.

Leonard Cohen will be remembered and missed.