Daniel Johnston, the legendary Austin-based singer/songwriter and visual artists who was the subject of the 2005 documentary "The Devil & Daniel Johnston", has died from a heart attack Tuesday night at the age of 58.
"He's just an inspiration".
According to a statement issued by his family, Johnston died of natural causes Wednesday morning at his Houston-area home.
Johnston released 17 albums amid his battles with mental illness, including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. "He inspired countless fans, artists, and songwriters with his message that no matter how dark the day that "the sun shines down on me" and 'true love will find you in the end'".
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In Austin, Texas, he began cultivating a following by constantly passing out his cassette tapes to passersby.
However, it was short lived, as Johnston was soon hospitalized for mental health.
Called everything from an eccentric genius to a childlike loner, Johnston made his bones and his reputation for oblique, yet touching lyrics, yelping vocals and oddly contagious melodies (for instance: "Speeding Motorcycle") with a handful of homemade cassettes (such as "More Songs of Pain", "Yip/Jump Music", and "Hi, How Are You") and almost 20 albums.
Interest in Johnston was revived by the documentary, which won the Director's Award at Sundance in 2005, and the exposure allowed Johnston to tour extensively. Johnston's Austin mural of a frog, the same minimalist artwork that appears on his 1983 album Hi, How Are You, is a landmark in the city. Performers for the 2019 show included the Flaming Lips, Yo La Tengo, Built to Spill, the Moth & the Flame. "It's so sad that he won't get to see it", Dick Johnston said.
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