Grammy- and Oscar-nominated singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens has dedicated his new album “Javlin” to his late partner Evans Richardson.
Richardson died in April at the age of 43, according to an obituary.
“This album is dedicated to the light of my life, my beloved partner and best friend Evans Richardson, who passed away in April,” Stevens, 48, wrote on social media Friday, the day of the album’s release, along with a photo of 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.”
“I know relationships can be very difficult sometimes, but it’s always worth it to put in the hard work and care for the ones you love, especially the beautiful ones, who are few and far between,” he continued. “If you happen to find that kind of love, hold it close, hold it tight, savor it, tend to it, and give it everything you’ve got, especially in times of trouble. Be kind, be strong, be patient, be forgiving, be vigorous, be wise, and be yourself. Live every day as if it is your last, with fullness and grace, with reverence and love, with gratitude and joy. This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
Richardson served as chief of staff at Harlem’s Studio Museum and chaired the American Alliance of Museums’s Accreditation Commission.
Stevens has historically been private about his relationships and sexuality.
He rose to prominence with the acclaimed 2005 album, “Illinois,” which was recently adapted into a stage musical, and he was nominated for an Oscar for his song “Mystery of Love” from 2017’s “Call Me by Your Name.”
Stevens and Richardson attended the Oscars together in 2018.
In a Tumblr post in September, Sufjan Stevens wrote that he was battling Guillain-Barré syndrome, an illness where the body’s immune system attacks part of the body’s nervous system.
The syndrome can affect the nerves that control muscle movement as well as those that transmit pain, temperature and touch sensations. This can result in muscle weakness, loss of sensation in the legs and/or arms, and problems swallowing or breathing, according to the World Health Organization.
“I’m very excited about having new music to share, but I just wanted to let you know that one of the reasons why I haven’t been able to participate in the press and promotion leading up to the release of Javelin is bc I am in the hospital,” Stevens wrote in announcing the disorder.
“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. My brother drove me to the ER and after a series of tests—MRIs, EMGs, cat scans, X-rays, spinal taps (!), echo-cardiograms, etc.—the neurologists diagnosed me with an autoimmune disorder called Guillain-Barre Syndrome,” he wrote.
“Luckily there’s treatment for this — they administer immuno-hemoglobin infusions for five days and pray that the disease doesn’t spread to the lungs, heart and brain. Very scary, but it worked. I spent about two weeks in Med/Surg, stuck in a bed, while my doctors did all the things to keep me alive and stabilize my condition. I owe them my life.”
This article originally appeared on Advocate.com, and is shared here as part of an LGBTQ+ community exchange between Q Voice News and Equal Pride.