'We need you now up there as much as we did down here'

By Will Robinson
Updated November 11, 2016 at 09:33 PM EST
Credit: George Pimentel/WireImage

Canadian-American songwriter Rufus Wainwright on Friday shared an emotional tribute to musician Leonard Cohen, who is also grandfather to Wainwright’s daughter.

“I had very few deeply personal experiences with Leonard, enough to count on one and a half hands,” he said in an emotional statement. “Like for most of us, for me he dwelled in a higher strata inhabited by some living but mostly passed icons who seemed to have this direct line to the galaxy, whilst at the same time knowing exactly when to take out the trash. Formidable in both the sacred and the mundane.”

Cohen’s daughter, Lorca, and Wainwright and are friends and entered a parenting partnership. Lorca Cohen gave birth to one of Leonard Cohen’s two grandchildren in 2011: Viva, now 5. The 43-year-old Wainwright is one of the many musicians to cover Cohen’s classic “Hallelujah”; he also put his spin on “Chelsea Hotel #2” and “Everybody Knows.”

Wainwright also credited Cohen for his positive influence. “It was never a fundamental shift, just a kind yet brutally strong nudge towards where I really ought to be heading,” he said. “I would have liked to have had more time to ask him more questions, and certainly now in this pathetic dinghy, adrift in a violent sea, we all need help in maneuvering a truly busted rudder through a series of magnificent typhoons.”

He continued: “But it’s ok, it’s all in the music. Farewell Leonard, we need you now up there as much as we did down here.”

Read Wainwright’s full statement below.