Singer Sufjan Stevens announces death of partner amid his own health battle

Singer Sufjan Stevens announces death of partner amid his own health battle
  • PublishedOctober 9, 2023

Acclaimed American singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens has posted a devastating life update to fans today, revealing that his new album is dedicated to his partner, who died in April.

And since his partner’s death, Stevens has fought a health battle of his own, spending months in hospital learning how to walk.

Stevens, 48, has been a prolific artist since releasing his debut album in 1999, earning a rabid cult fanbase along the way. He’s also fielded much speculation from fans and the media about his sexuality over the years, but has usually kept his love life private.

But in a devastating post to his Instagram account today, Stevens directly addressed his sexuality for the first time, revealing that his newly-released 10th studio album Javelin is dedicated to “the light of my life, my beloved partner and best friend Evans Richardson, who passed away in April.”

Singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens.

Singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens.

Stevens shared this photo of his late partner, Evans Richardson.

Stevens shared this photo of his late partner, Evans Richardson.

“He was an absolute gem of a person, full of life, love, laughter, curiosity, integrity, and joy. He was one of those rare and beautiful ones you find only once in a lifetime — precious, impeccable, and absolutely exceptional in every way,” Stevens wrote.

He told his fans that if they find a love like he had with Richardson, “hold it close, hold it tight, savor it, tend to it, and give it everything you’ve got, especially in times of trouble.”

It is not known how long the couple were together, and Richardson’s cause of death has also not been made public. An obituary posted online reveals that he was 43, and worked as Chair of the American Alliance of Museums’ Accreditation Commission before his death.

The heartbreaking news comes as Stevens recently shared his own health struggle with fans.

On September 20, he posted a photo of himself sitting in a wheelchair in hospital to his Instagram account, sharing that he had recently been diagnosed with the auto-immune disorder Guillain-Barre Syndrome and faced a long road to recovery.

“Last month I woke up one morning and couldn’t walk. My hands, arms and legs were numb and tingling and I had no strength, no feeling, no mobility,” he wrote.

He was rushed to hospital where doctors administered treatment in the hopes “that the disease doesn’t spread to the lungs, heart and brain.”

Learning to walk again.

Learning to walk again.

He was transferred to a rehab facility on September 8 where he remained, “undergoing intensive physical therapy/occupational therapy, strength building etc. to get my body back in shape and to learn to walk again.”

“It’s a slow process, but they say I will ‘recover,’ it just takes a lot of time, patience, and hard work. Most people who have GBS learn to walk again on their own within a year, so I am hopeful,” he wrote.

And there is at least one positive update, posted by Stevens on his Tumblr account yesterday: He was preparing to leave the rehab facility and return home.

“I’ll continue the work at home and in outpatient therapy,” he told fans. “Thanks for all your prayers and well wishes.”


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