(Credit: Daniel Johnston / Press)

Daniel Johnston: Beck, Zola Jesus, Jack Antonoff and more pay tribute to lo-fi pioneer


Tributes have been flooding in for influential lo-fi indie pioneer Daniel Johnston after he passed away aged 58.

Diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, Johnston spent large periods of his life in psychiatric institutions and, in many instances, the musician found a way to channel his inner demons through the creative form of his songwriting. 

Having influenced countless musicians over they years, Johnston continued to perform live despite his worsening health. After suffering a fall and moved to hospital, Johnston’s health continued to fluctuate as his medication was changed.

In a statement issued by his family, they stated” “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.”

Dick Johnston, Daniel’s older brother, added: “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.”

[MORE] – Listen to Daniel Johnston’s wonderfully menacing cover of The Beatles ‘Got To Get You Into My Life’

Tom Gimbel, Daniel’s manager for over 25 years, added: “I am so saddened by the news of Daniel’s passing.  It has been the greatest honor and privilege of my professional life to work with Daniel Johnston – someone who I consider to be one of the greatest songwriting geniuses of our time. In our time together Daniel was more than an artist; he was a friend, he was family. I will miss him greatly but will smile every time I hear his songs.”

Tribute from across the music industry have flooded is as Zola Jesus wrote:  “There are not enough words I can say about the important and vitality of Daniel Johnston’s musical spirit. He was a huge inspiration to me, to follow my creative impulses no matter how messy or simple.” 

See the full list of tributes, below: