The lo-fi indie pioneer, who rose to cult fame in the 80’s alternative and underground music scene, died after suffering a heart attack on Tuesday (September 10).
An outsider figure revered by musicians including Kurt Cobain and Tom Waits, his style combined childlike innocence, the avant grade and the eccentric – a style which earned him cult status amongst his many fans and saw him become a highly influential songwriter beyond the indie world.
But he also won fans with his famously lo-fi live performances ,which saw Johnston often performing by himself, armed only with an acoustic guitar.Below, you can watch footage from Johnston’s performance at Vancouver’s The Venue in 2017 – his penultimate public performance before his death.
Daniel Johnston’s Vancouver setlist was:
Walking the Cow
The Sun Shines Down on Me
Fake Records of Rock and Roll
Good Morning You
Honey I Sure Miss You
Life in Vain
Love Not Dead
Museum of Love
My Life Is Starting Over
Queenie the Doggie
True Love Will Find You in the End
Last night, Johnston’s family released a statement via the Hi, How Are You Project – a project Daniel’s life and music inspired to encourage open conversation around mental health. Johnston was diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
The statement read: “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.”
Daniel’s older brother Dick Johnston said: “I always wanted Danny to feel like his own person, and in control of his own life. Since beginning to work and travel with him in about 2003, we gratefully were able to travel the entire globe for over a decade to get out before the fans. He was always, everywhere, warmly received and he at least knew he was well loved. Health issues have plagued us for years, I’m glad for the time we had.”