Songwriter and artist Daniel Johnston "passed away of natural causes" at his home in Texas, aged 58, Wednesday. Johnston was known as an artist and comic-book writer and his magic marker cartoon drawings were an inspiration for The Simpsons' creator Matt Groening.
A cult figure on the local music scene, he gained wider exposure when MTV filmed a programme on the Austin music scene in 1985. In 2006, his artwork was featured in a major exhibition at New York's Whitney Museum of American Art. He was plagued by mental health problems, including bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, that hindered his career and endangered his life. Johnston's own musical output had slowed in recent years and, following a farewell tour in 2017. "He inspired countless fans, artists, and songwriters with his message that no matter how dark the day that "the sun shines down on me" and "true love will find you in the end," the family remembered Daniel.
"There are not enough words I can say about the vitality of Daniel Johnston's musical spirit," said musician Zola Jesus. "Rest in peace... Living your broken dreams forever," wrote Avengers star Mark Ruffalo on Twitter "Thank you for your art." „It has been the greatest honor and privilege of my professional life to work with Daniel Johnston - someone who I consider to be one of the greatest songwriting geniuses of our time. In our time together Daniel was more than an artist; he was a friend, he was family. I will miss him greatly but will smile every time I hear his songs," Tom Gimbel, Daniel's manager of over 25 years, wrote in a statement.