Hal Willner, famed record producer known for putting together tribute albums and concerts, and long-time sketch music producer for “Saturday Night Live,” has died of complications related to the coronavirus, confirmed by Variety. Willner produced albums for many artists, including Marianne Faithfull (who recently was also giagnosed with coronavirus), Laurie Anderson, Lou Reed, and Lucinda Williams. He was 64 years old at the time of his death.
Willner had posted on his Twitter account a post that alluded to him having the virus; the producer posted a map of the coronavirus hotspots across the country, with New York City being the clear epicenter, writing, “I always wanted to have a number one, but not this,” and describing himself as “in bed on upper west side.”
I always wanted to have a number one – but not this . Pure Arch Oboler with Serling added . In bed on upper west side . H pic.twitter.com/zEqZmqmlWk
— Hal Willner (@WillnerHal) March 28, 2020
The news was first broken by Willner’s close friend, Penny Arcade, who posted a message on social media announcing the producer’s death. The message he posted was simple, as it read, “Oh no! Not Hal……. Ladies and gentleman, Hal Willner has left the auditorium”
Willner is now the latest prominent figure in the music world to succumb to the coronavirus, which includes Afro jazz saxophone pioneer Manu Dibango, jazz pianist Marsalis family patriarch Ellis Marsalis, Jazz trumpet legend and Grammy winner Wallace Rooney, and Fountains of Wayne co-founder Adam Schlesinger, as well as others.
Celebrities took to scoail media to express their sadness for Willner’s passing. Check out some tributes to Hal Willner below:
— Sonic Youth (@thesonicyouth) April 7, 2020
Absolutely devastated to get this news about my weird and lovely pal, Hal. We are heartbroken. Love, love, love to Sheila and Arlohttps://t.co/p2cf9CRIrP
— Julia Louis-Dreyfus (@OfficialJLD) April 7, 2020
— Nels Cline (@nelscline) April 7, 2020
Hal Willner was one a kind. None there are none of that kind. RIP, Hal.
— Michael McKean (@MJMcKean) April 7, 2020
Hal was a part of so much of the music and pop culture comedy we have all enjoyed for years. He was kind and extremely cool. So sorry to hear this. Sending love to his family. https://t.co/UdecryPuEx
— Ben Stiller (@RedHourBen) April 7, 2020
Hal Willner Dead: ‘SNL’ Music Mainstay, Record Producer Had COVID-19 – Variety. – so sad. Some people are such a gift to the world. They just put good stuff out there and make our lives better. https://t.co/W07Y1efJgi
— Judd Apatow (@JuddApatow) April 7, 2020
I loved you, hipster. A truly unheralded genius. https://t.co/RiLR7qtIif
— Richard Lewis (@TheRichardLewis) April 7, 2020
My friend Hal passed away due to the coronavirus. He was a mad genius. He loved everything weird. He always made me feel good in an environment where it was sometimes hard to feel good about yourself. I really love him. I love you Hal. https://t.co/y1ocQIKo6Q
— Taran Killam (@TaranKillam) April 7, 2020