Mark Linkous, the singer-songwriter who released his music under the band name Sparklehorse, has died after shooting himself in the chest in Tennessee. He was 47.
Knoxville Police Department spokesman Darrell DeBusk said Linkous shot himself outside a friend’s house around 1:20 p.m. Saturday with his own rifle. DeBusk said Linkous was staying with friends and became upset after receiving a text message.
Linkous’ most recent work included collaborations with producer Danger Mouse and musician Christian Fennesz. He was working on the follow-up to 2006’s “Dreamt for Light Years in the Belly of a Mountain” at the time of his death.
Linkous was popular in the indie music scene with a unique sound that was engaging, ethereal and hauntingly beautiful.
News of his death spread quickly on the Internet and was met with shock and sadness.
Radiohead bassist Colin Greenwood said on his blog he first met Linkous when Sparklehorse served as the opening act for the “OK Computer” tour in Europe.
“His first two records were very important to me, and I carried his music from the tour into my life, and my friends’ lives too,” Greenwood wrote. “... Mark wrote and played some beautiful music, and we’re lucky to have it.”
DeBusk said Linkous left no suicide note behind. The North Carolina-based artist was moving to Knoxville and staying with two friends, who told police Linkous was drinking and became upset after texting with an unknown person.
After saying he didn’t want to talk about what was upsetting him, the friends said Linkous went upstairs for a short time, then left the house through a back door. A witness saw Linkous sit down nearby, take out his rifle, place it against his chest and pull the trigger.
Linkous’ body was taken to the Knox County medical examiner, but it’s unclear whether an autopsy will be performed, DeBusk said.
Linkous was a popular collaborator and respected artist who was a festival favorite. His highly anticipated album with Danger Mouse, “Dark Night of the Soul,” had been held up by legal issues but was cleared for release soon. Filmmaker David Lynch recently released a companion book of photographs.
The artist’s earlier albums included “Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot,” “Good Morning Spider” and “It’s a Wonderful Life,” which featured contributions from Tom Waits and P.J. Harvey.
Linkous’ manager, Shelby Meade, released a statement from his family: “We are thankful for his time with us and will hold him forever in our hearts. May his journey be peaceful, happy and free. There’s a heaven and there’s a star for you.”