Singer/songwriter Warren Zevon died Sunday (Sept. 7) in Los Angeles. He was 56. Zevon was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer in August of last year.
A spokesperson for the artist tells Billboard.com that Zevon had been fealing well of late, and died peacefully in his home Sunday afternoon. Zevon was found dead after failing to wake from an afternoon nap, according to the spokesperson.
Zevon had spent much of the past year working on a final studio recording. The album, dubbed "The Wind" (Artemis), was released two weeks ago and entered The Billboard 200 at No. 16, his highest chart ranking since "Excitable Boy" peaked at No. 8 about 25 years ago. "The Wind," which features guest appearances from Jackson Browne
, Bruce Springsteen
, T Bone Burnett and Dwight Yoakam, among others, sold 48,000 copies in its first week of release.
As an artist on Asylum in the mid-'70s, Zevon wrote and recorded such much-covered songs as "Poor Poor Pitiful Me," "Hasten Down the Wind," and "Carmelita." He scored his biggest hit with the 1978 album "Excitable Boy," which contained the top-20 single "Werewolves of London." He later recorded for Virgin, Giant and, most recently, Artemis.
In a candid interview with Billboard last year, Zevon--who had addressed death with frankness and caustic amusement frequently during the course of his 30-year career--joked that he wanted to live long enough to see the latest James Bond film.
Once a Hollywood wild man of legendary reputation, Zevon had been sober for nearly 18 years and quit smoking almost five years ago. When he was asked last year what he does while staring death in the eye, Zevon replied by saying, "Work."
"Harder, hopefully with some focus," Zevon said. "I'm working a lot every day. I already have great relationships with my children . . . I've already led two lives. I got to be a wild, crazy, Jim Morrison quasi-rock star, anyway, and I got to be a sober dad for 18 years. I can't possibly complain."
-- Chris Morris, L.A.