Tag: Canada

So long, Marianne: Leonard Cohen writes to muse just before her death

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Cohen’s letter to Marianne Ihlen said ‘our bodies are falling apart and I think I will follow you very soon’

So long, Marianne: Leonard Cohen writes to muse just before her death
Leonard Cohen wrote So Long, Marianne about Marianne Ihlen, whom he met on the Greek island of Hydra. Photograph: K & K Ulf Kruger OHG/Redferns

Leonard Cohen penned a poignant final letter to his dying muse Marianne Ihlen, a longtime friend of hers revealed on Canadian radio.

Ihlen, whom Cohen wrote about in So Long, Marianne and Bird on a Wire, died in Norway on 29 July, aged 81.

Cohen met her on the Greek island Hydra in the 1960s and they became lovers. So Long, Marianne appeared on his 1967 album Songs of Leonard Cohen.

Her close friend Jan Christian Mollestad got in touch with Cohen to tell him Ihlen was dying.

“It took only two hours and in came this beautiful letter from Leonard to Marianne. We brought it to her the next day and she was fully conscious and she was so happy that he had already written something for her,” Mollestad said.

Mollestad, a documentary maker, read Cohen’s letter to her before she died. “It said well Marianne it’s come to this time when we are really so old and our bodies are falling apart and I think I will follow you very soon. Know that I am so close behind you that if you stretch out your hand, I think you can reach mine.

“And you know that I’ve always loved you for your beauty and your wisdom, but I don’t need to say anything more about that because you know all about that. But now, I just want to wish you a very good journey. Goodbye old friend. Endless love, see you down the road.”

Mollestad told CBC that when he read the line “stretch out your hand,” Ihlen stretched out her hand. “Only two days later she lost consciousness and slipped into death. I wrote a letter back to Leonard saying in her final moments I hummed Bird on a Wire because that was the song she felt closest to. And then I kissed her on the head and left the room, and said “so long, Marianne.”

Leonard Cohen’s Facebook page also marked Ihlen’s death. “The death last week of Marianne Ihlen, the woman immortalized in So Long, Marianne, has evoked an overwhelming response from those who knew Marianne well, those who knew her only as Leonard Cohen’s muse, and even those who previously didn’t know there was a real Marianne,” a post said.

Ihlen’s funeral was held in Oslo on Friday.

Meat Loaf collapses on stage in Edmonton during Canada tour

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Concert footage shows singer being helped by bandmates after falling to the floor

Meat Loaf collapses on stage in Edmonton during Canada tour
Singer Meat Loaf collapses on stage in Edmonton, Canada

The American rocker and actor Meat Loaf has collapsed on stage during a concert in Canada.

Video footage from a concert in Edmonton, Alberta, on Thursday evening shows the musician, born Marvin Lee Aday, falling to the stage floor during a performance.

He appears to lose consciousness and is attended to by bandmates.

Edmonton police confirmed to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation that its officers were called to respond to a medical emergency at the venue.

Local reports said the Northern Jubilee Auditorium was cleared shortly after Meat Loaf collapsed at about 9.37pm and ambulances and fire trucks were seen outside the venue.

One concertgoer, Lindsay Sundmark, told the Edmonton Journal “he was performing ‘I Would Do Anything For Love’ and all of a sudden, in the middle of it, he collapsed right on stage”.

“We weren’t sure at first whether it was part of the act or it was something for real,” Sundmark said.

“It looked at first like he was just being theatrical and lying down on the stage,” said Britt Brewer, who was also there.

Meat Loaf had cancelled shows in Moose Jaw and Calgary earlier in the week due to illness.

The 68-year-old is one of the bestselling recording artists of all time, renowned for hits including Bat Out of Hell and the Grammy-award winning I’d Do Anything for Love.

He also played Eddie in the cult hit film The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Robert “Bob” Paulson in Fight Club, among a range of other roles in a career spanning four decades.

Meat Loaf collapsed in 2003 during a performance in London, and again during a July 2011 concert in Pittsburgh.

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