Music legend Leonard Cohen dies

Music legend Leonard Cohen dies

Tributes are flowing for music legend Leonard Cohen, who died on Friday (NZ time) aged 82.

In Montreal, flags are flying at half-mast to honour the Canadian poet and singer-songwriter, with mayor Denis Coderre saying the city had lost "one of [their] greatest ambassadors and icons".

Cohen released 14 studio albums and eight live albums during the course of his music career, which began in the late 1960s. His latest album, You Want It Darker, was released only a few weeks ago on October 21.

"It is with profound sorrow we report that legendary poet, songwriter and artist, Leonard Cohen has passed away," his record label announced on Cohen's Facebook page.

"We have lost one of music's most revered and prolific visionaries.

Music legend Leonard Cohen dies

A portrait taken in London, June 1974 (Getty)

"A memorial will take place in Los Angeles at a later date. The family requests privacy during their time of grief."

One of Cohen's greatest-known songs was 'Hallelujah', released in 1984. It's been famously covered by a number of artists over the years, notably including John Cale in 1991 and Jeff Buckley in 1994.

Last month, in an interview with magazine The New Yorker, the artist admitted he was "ready to die".

"I hope it's not too uncomfortable. That's about it for me," he said.

Cohen still had a number of unfinished songs and poems at the time, and he told The New Yorker he liked to tie up loose strings where he could. 

"If I can't, also, that's okay. But my natural thrust is to finish things that I've begun."

Cohen was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 1991, the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2006 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008. 

In 2003 he was also named a Companion of the Order of Canada - one of the highest honours a civilian in the country can receive.

Music legend Leonard Cohen dies

On stage in the UK, May 1976 (Getty)

"Known for his striking imagery and evocative descriptions of the human condition, Leonard Cohen has the distinction of creating a body of work that has remained contemporary and significant through three decades of shifting musical and aesthetic tastes," the Advisory Council said.

"His continued popularity confirms his status as a Canadian icon and a venerated dean of the pop culture movement."