Bruce Springsteen has penned a touching tribute to filmmaker Jonathan Demme, who died on Wednesday of complications from esophageal cancer.
“Over here on E Street, we’re deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Jonathan Demme,” Springsteen wrote on his official website. “He was an inspiration for me, a beautiful filmmaker and a great spirit. Always smiling, always involved with the world and always pushing you to go for your best. He’ll be deeply missed.”
Springsteen won an Academy Award for Best Original Song for “Streets of Philadelphia,” which was featured in the Demme-directed film Philadelphia that stars Tom Hanks. Demme also directed the music video for the song.
Fellow E Street Band member Steven Van Zandt also honored the director. “Oh no. Jonathan Demme. One of our great filmmakers, one of the most beautiful souls on the planet,” he tweeted. “Another magical irreplaceable friend gone.”
In 1987, Demme was nominated for a Best Music Video, Long Form Grammy for his work on “Sun City: Artists Against Apartheid.” Van Zandt co-founded the Artists United Against Apartheid with Arthur Baker and they produced the anti-apartheid song “Sun City” and the album of the same name.
“His contribution to ‘Sun City’ was pivotal in getting Nelson Mandela released and ending the South African apartheid,” Van Zandt added. “He was a saint.”