David Berman died as a result of hanging, New York City’s medical examiner has confirmed.
The singer and poet behind Silver Jews was found dead in an apartment building in Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighbourhood on Wednesday (August 7). He was 52 years old.
The New York Times reports that a spokesperson for NYC’s medical examiner concluded death by suicide.
Berman’s new band Purple Mountains released their self-titled debut album in July. The band were due to begin their first tour this weekend (August 9). It was Berman’s first new music since the final Silver Jews album Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea, which was released in 2008.
Berman had suffered from depression and drug addiction while in Silver Jews. He rarely gave interviews, and only began touring in earnest around Silver Jews’ acclaimed 2005 album ‘Tanglewood Numbers’.
The singer said his “biggest secret” was his family background. He revealed he was the son of noted right-wing lobbyist Richard Berman, who worked for the gun and alcohol industries.
The two were estranged after Richard ignored his son’s pleas to give up his work. David said: “My heart was constantly on fire for justice. I could find no relief. This winter, I decided that the SJs were too small of a force to ever come close to undoing a millionth of all the harm he has caused.”
Kurt Vile was among those who paid tribute to the late musician. Part of his lengthy Instagram post read: “So crushed. I grew up on David Berman and the Silver Jews catalogue in mostly real time… in such a way that his music and lyrics and vocals have touched me to this day and are still growing in significance.”