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Legendary Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen predicted his own death in a heartbreaking goodbye letter to his ex-love Marianne Ihlen.

Cohen and Ihlen met in Greece in the 1960s. She had recently been left by her husband, who took off and left both her and their six-month-old son alone in Greece. Cohen invited them to live with him in Montreal and Ihlem accepted the offer. They quickly became a couple and their romantic relationship lasted for a decade. The woman inspired the musician to write such songs as “So Long, Marianne”, “Bird on a Wire”, and others.

When Ihlen’s friend Jan Christian Mollestad contacted Cohen to tell him that she was dying from leukemia and had only a couple days to live “it took only two hours and in came this beautiful letter from Leonard to Marianne.”

Leonard Cohen’s recent letter to his dying muse, Marianne Ihlen

Image credits: LettersOfNote

“We brought this letter in to her the next day and she was fully conscious and she was so happy that he had already written something for her,” Mollestad told Canada’s CBC radio.

And here is the beautiful reply sent to Leonard Cohen

When he read the line “stretch out your hand”, Ihlen had stretched out her hand. “Only two days after, she lost consciousness and slipped into death. And when she died, I wrote a letter back to him saying in her final moments I hummed A Bird on the Wire because that was the song she felt closest to.” Now, after Cohen’s passing, the story from last August is even more poignant. (h/t)