Legendary singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen dies aged 82

Leonard Cohen, best known for writing Hallelujah, has died aged 82. Credit: ITV News

Revered singer, songwriter and poet Leonard Cohen has died aged 82, it has been announced.

The Canadian artist was hailed as "one of music's most revered and prolific visionaries" in a statement announcing his death on his Facebook page,

It added that a memorial service will take place in Los Angeles.

"It is with profound sorrow we report that legendary poet, songwriter and artist Leonard Cohen has passed away," it said.

No further details were given of his death, which comes just weeks after he said he was "ready to die" in an interview.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau led tributes to the Grammy Award winner who was also bestowed with the nation's highest honour.

"No other artist's music felt or sounded like Leonard Cohen's. Yet his work resonated across generations. Canada and the world will miss him," Mr Trudeau wrote on Twitter.

The Recording Academy, who honoured Cohen with a lifetime achievement Grammy in 2010, said it was "deeply saddened" by the news.

"Leonard became one of the most revered pop poets and a musical touchstone for many songwriters," chief executive Neil Portnow said.

"His extraordinary talent had a profound impact on countless singers and songwriters, as well as the wider culture.

"We have lost a cherished artist and our sincerest condolences go out to Leonard's family, friends, and collaborators. He will be missed terribly."

Leonard Cohen performing on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in 2008. Credit: PA

As news of his death emerged tributes soon followed, with fellow artists and fans hailing him as a "hero" and a "visionary".

Canadian actor Kiefer Sutherland said: "A brilliant Canadian artist passed today. Leonard Cohen, rest in peace. Hallelujah."

Canadian director Ron Howard tweeted: "One of my favorite singer-poets. RIP Legendary Musician Leonard Cohen."

US singer-songwriter Ben Folds tweeted: "Kids. Take a moment to listen to Leonard Cohen's song Going Home when you can. RIP L Cohen and thank you."

Lily Allen tweeted her sadness at the news: "As of the week could get any worse. Thank you Leonard Cohen, for all the things. Rest In Peace."

Born into a Jewish family in 1934, Cohen's first concerted musical effort came in his teens when he formed a country music group called the Buckskin Boys.

But it wasn't until he moved to New York in 1966 at the age of 31 that he made a serious attempt to break into the music business, having already become a celebrated poet and novelist.

He was soon compared to Bob Dylan for the lyrical force of his songwriting.

His best-known hit 'Hallelujah', in which he invoked the biblical King David and drew parallels between physical love and a desire for spiritual connection, has been covered hundreds of times since he released it in 1984, most famously by Jeff Buckley.

Cohen released his fourteenth studio album, You Want It Darker, in October, topping the charts in 10 countries.

At the time he told the New Yorker magazine: "I've got some work to do. Take care of business. I am ready to die. I hope it's not too uncomfortable. That's about it for me."

Cohen's career spanned six decades. His first album, Songs Of Leonard Cohen, came in 1968. He released Hallelujah in 1984, and it was covered by Buckley in the 1990s.

One of Cohen's greatest hits was 1967's So Long Marianne, written for former lover and muse Marianne Ihlen, who also inspired his song Hey, That's No Way To Say Goodbye.