Eccentric indie rock singer Daniel Johnston dies, aged 58

Daniel Johnston who has died aged 58 and chronicled his life obsessively in songs paintings diaries and hours of home-movie footage

Daniel Johnston who has died aged 58 and chronicled his life obsessively in songs paintings diaries and hours of home-movie footage

Daniel Johnston, the revered cult singer-songwriter who made an indelible mark on indie music with often harrowingly handsome songs, has died after suffering a heart attack, the Austin Chronicle reports. "I think he was a true genius", said Gimbel. Johnston died this week. That album kicked off a prolific run of releases from Johnston, who is regarded as a pioneer of lo-fi folk and counts Kurt Cobain, the Flaming Lips and Tom Waits among his acolytes.

Despite battling chronic mental illness, Johnston had an influential career as a singer-songwriter.

Dick Johnston also told NPR on Wednesday that the family has been working with director Jason Nodler to create a biographical film of Daniel Johnston's life, based on the stage work Speeding Motorcycle, which Nodler directed, based on Johnston's songs. The project is named for one of Johnston's albums.

"His issues with mental health are well documented but what stands out to me are his triumphs", Gimbel said.

Johnston emerged as a cult favorite in the the 1980s - partially by passing out homemade tapes around town, including in a McDonald's - and even appeared on MTV in 1985, but it wasn't until the early '90s, when Nirvana's Kurt Cobain started appearing in a t-shirt bearing the cover of Johnston's "Hi, How Are You?" album that Johnston's fame took off.

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According to a 2006 documentary, "The Devil and Daniel Johnston", while on a flight piloted his father Bill, grabbed the key from the plane's ignition and hurled it out the window.

In keeping with the city's long appreciation of live music, the festivities a concert.

"There were very few risky rock and roll shows left in the world where you really don't know what to expect", Gimbel said of Johnston's notoriously unpredictable stage presence.

He added: "You never knew what was going to happen at one of Daniel's shows, but it was always incredibly honest and genuine".

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