He was 58.
Outsider musician and visual artist Daniel Johnston has died at age 58.
As The Austin Chronicle reports, Johnston suffered a heart attack yesterday evening (September 10). His former manager, Jeff Tartakov, confirmed the news. According to the article, Johnston’s health had declined over the last few years and required multiple hospitalizations. Dick Johnston, Daniel’s brother, told Spin, “We had hoped to get back to a point where he was stable and could enjoy things like touring. He had just returned from a recent hospital stay and seemed (and looked) better than I’d seen him in a good while. So this was something of a surprise”.
Johnston was born in Sacramento, CA and grew up in New Cumberland, WV before moving to Austin, TX in the 1980s. He had an extensive discography and released his music primarily on homemade cassette tapes that he passed out to people, a method which landed him an appearance on MTV series The Cutting Edge in 1985. Late Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain directed the spotlight on Johnston when he wore a t-shirt featuring the artwork from Johnston’s sixth album Hi, How Are You, sparking a label bidding war.
Johnston’s most recent album, Space Ducks, was released in 2012, and he last toured in 2017. He supposedly had another LP that he hoped would be released “real soon”, he told The Chronicle in an interview last year.