Cult singer-songwriter Daniel Johnston has died aged 58

Daniel Johnston who has died aged 58 and chronicled his life obsessively in songs paintings diaries and hours of home-movie footage

Daniel Johnston who has died aged 58 and chronicled his life obsessively in songs paintings diaries and hours of home-movie footage

Daniel Johnston, who for decades was a fixture of underground music in America, has died of a heart attack at age 58. "I think he was a true genius", said Gimbel.

"Daniel was a singer, songwriter, an artist, and a friend to all".

Despite battling chronic mental illness, Johnston had an influential career as a singer-songwriter.

Born in Sacramento and raised in West Virginia, Johnston took art classes at Kent State - where he recorded his 1981 debut Songs of Pain - dropped out two years later, and spent time traveling with a carnival before moving to Austin, Texas.

Dick Johnston also told NPR on Wednesday that the family has been working with director Jason Nodler to create a biographical film of Daniel Johnston's life, based on the stage work Speeding Motorcycle, which Nodler directed, based on Johnston's songs.

Johnston also had physical health issues, according to Gimbel, related to diabetes and the medications he'd taken all his life.

In 2018, the city of Austin declared January 22 - Johnston's birthday - to be "Hi, How Are You?" Day.

In 2005, he was the subject of a documentary, The Devil and Daniel Johnston, that traced his artmaking and his significant struggles; the film won the documentary directing award at Sundance that year.

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. Performers for the 2019 show included the Flaming Lips, Yo La Tengo, Built to Spill, the Moth & the Flame.

"There were very few unsafe rock and roll shows left in the world where you really don't know what to expect", Gimbel said of Johnston's notoriously unpredictable stage presence. "He had just returned from a recent hospital stay and seemed (and looked) better than I'd seen him in a good while".

RIP, Daniel. You will be missed.