Musician and songwriter Daniel Johnston, an outsider folk artist who attracted a cult following with his pleas for love, has died. Rolling Stone reports that Johnston died Wednesday of natural causes. He was 58.
Johnston had recently been hospitalized for a kidney malfunction.
His family released a statement today saying: “The Johnston family is deeply saddened to announce the death of their brother, Daniel Johnston. He passed away from natural causes this morning at his home outside of Houston, Texas.
“Daniel was a singer, songwriter, an artist, and a friend to all. Although he struggled with mental health issues for much of his adult life, Daniel triumphed over his illness through his prolific output of art and songs. He inspired countless fans, artists, and songwriters with his message that no matter how dark the day, ‘the sun shines down on me’ and ‘true love will find you in the end.’”
Rolling Stone adds: “For years, Johnston had contended with both physical and mental health issues. Although he had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, his physical well-being suffered after he took a fall and was hospitalized; he also had to grapple with changes in his medication routine.”
Johnston’s brother Dick is quoted saying in an interview today: “Keeping him healthy has been the struggle and when he’s not well, you deal with a different person.”
He said Johnston returned home Tuesday from the hospital. “He was lucid and in good spirits,” Dick said. “As good as I’ve seen him in years. The [ankle] swelling was down and the problem looked good. He was happy to be home.”