Eccentric indie rock singer Daniel Johnston dies, aged 58

Revered singer-songwriter Daniel Johnston has died

Esoteric pop performer and artist Daniel Johnston has died at the age of 58 after suffering a heart attack. That album kicked off a prolific run of releases from Johnston, who is regarded as a pioneer of lo-fi folk and counts Kurt Cobain, the Flaming Lips and Tom Waits among his acolytes.

In 2005, "The Devil & Daniel Johnston" doc sparked new interest in the singer. The project is named for one of Johnston's albums. The film outlined Johnston's struggles with manic depression and schizophrenia.

Johnston's famous "Hi, how are you?" mural on Austin's "Drag" (a portion of Guadalupe St. adjacent to UT/Austin), named for his landmark 1983 album of the same title, is beloved among fans and passersby alike.

Despite battling chronic mental illness, Johnston had an influential career as a singer-songwriter. After this episode, Johnston was involuntarily committed to a mental hospital.

After ultimately signing with Atlantic Records, Johnston was dropped when his music fared poorly commercially.

Johnston eventually headed back to smaller, independent labels like Tim/Kerr and Jagjaguwar, better suited to release his intimate, non-commercial sounds.

Johnston was born in Sacramento, California and began recording music in the late 1970s.

Johnston played his last major shows in 2017 via a five date mini-tour featuring backing from Wilco's Jeff Tweedy, Built to Spill, Modern Baseball and The Districts.

As the Times put it then, "the idea of him quitting the road isn't unreasonable".

Johnston struggled with mental health issues throughout his life, and an organization "inspiring new conversations around mental health issues" called "The Hi, How Are You Project" was founded by Gimbel and Courtney Blanton with the support of Daniel Johnston and his family. In the previous year, his mental health also worsened.

His final album during his lifetime was "Beam Me Up!" in 2010. "Day" in his honor, on his birthday.

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