By Leah Greenblatt
Updated March 08, 2010 at 08:03 PM EST

Mark Linkous, the Virginia-born indie-rock fixture best known for his work in the lo-fi psych-folk project Sparklehorse, as well as for collaborations with artists ranging from Danger Mouse to Tom Waits, Iggy Pop and PJ Harvey, died March 6th of a self-inflicted gun shot wound.

He came very close to dying once before, while touring with Radiohead in 1996; an overdose of pills, alcohol and anti-depressants caused him to lose consciousness in a London hotel room for 14 hours, with his legs pinned beneath him. His subsequent heart attack left him legally dead for several minutes, and the time he spent unconscious without circulation to his legs put him in a wheelchair for six months.

Ironically, that incident helped inspire one of his most commercially and critically successful albums, 2001’s fragile, haunting It’s a Wonderful Life. Watch the original video for the title track below, directed by Guy Maddin:

Like Vic Chesnutt, who also recently took his own life, Linkous wrestled with depression and ongoing health problems, but also made that struggle an important part of his music. Though it would be presumptive to guess why they both decided to go when they did, it’s a similarly sad loss for the rock community, and for the loved ones they left behind.

Linkous’s publicist has not announced yet what will happen with a recently recorded and reportedly unfinished Sparklehorse album, though one posthumous project, his Dark Night of the Soul collaboration with Danger Mouse and David Lynch (Vic Chesnutt is also a guest on one track), is slated for release this summer, after a drawn-out battle with record label EMI.

Pitchfork has rounded up some nice tributes from famous friends and fans here; you can do the same if you would like to in the comments section below.

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