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'I went to Greece and I stayed there for the next eight years. I’d never been in a sunny place and I’d never known what the sun was; so I fell in love with the sun, and a blonde girl, and a white house.'
Leonard Cohen, poet, singer-songwriter, philosopher and novelist, met Marianne Ihlen on the Greek island of Hydra in 1960. She would become one of his greatest sources of inspiration, immortalised in songs like 'So Long, Marianne' and 'Bird on a Wire'. The two lived an idyllic, simple existence together in Greece, before finally moving to New York as Cohen's music career began to take off. They separated in 1970, but Cohen would always praise their 'mysterious enduring love'. On hearing, in 2016, that his former lover lay dying, he wrote to her: 'Well Marianne it's come to this time when we are really so old and our bodies are falling apart and I think I will follow you very soon. Know that I am so close behind you that if you stretch out your hand, I think you can reach mine [...]. But now, I just want to wish you a very good journey. Goodbye old friend.' Cohen died in November 2016, only 3 months after Marianne.