Musical artist Sufjan Stevens announces he has Guillain-Barre Syndrome, death of partner in April

 October 9, 2023

Musical artist Sufjan Stevens revealed he has Guillain-Barre Syndrome and that he has dedicated his latest album to his deceased gay partner.

His album Javelin comes after launching two tracks from it in June during Pride Month.

The statement

“This album is dedicated to the light of my life, my beloved partner and best friend Evans Richardson, who passed away in April,” Stevens wrote.

“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," he added.

The illness

“My hands, arms and legs were numb and tingling and I had no strength, no feeling, no mobility,” he wrote, according to the Guardian.

He added that he was now “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 … I’m committed to getting better, I’m in good spirits, and I’m surrounded by a really great team.”

The change

"Stevens has spent much of his career keeping details about his personal life, sexuality and relationships off social media and out of the public eye," NME wrote.

“It’s the power of Sufjan Stevens’ music that big feelings like this can be conveyed in such a seemingly effortless, unguarded way. Heartache and pain are tempered by the choir of voices and whimsical instrumental arrangements that bring an element of hope," the outlet stated about his latest album.

The announcement was a surprise to many fans who had long followed the musical artist, now on his tenth album.

The illness has also been met with strong calls of support from fans who hope to see him walking again soon and able to perform his latest songs in person.

The announcement has brought a strong mix of reactions as the public deals with his new album, his illness, and the revelation of a longtime same-sex relationship.

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