Bruce Springsteen and Steven Van Zandt Mourn Loss of Jonathan Demme

Justin Timberlake also had words of praise for the late filmmaker.

By Robyn Collins

Bruce Springsteen, his E Street bandmate Steven Van Zandt and Justin Timberlake have joined the chorus of voices paying tribute to filmmaker Jonathan Demme, who died Wednesday (April 26) at the age of 73.

Related: Watch Bruce Springsteen Surprise Set at Steven Van Zandt Concert

“Over here on E Street, we’re deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Jonathan Demme,” Springsteen wrote on his 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.”

Demme died from complications with esophageal cancer, according to Variety. The director had worked with Springsteen on the film “Philadelphia,” for which the singer won an Oscar for his original song “Streets of Philadelphia.”

In addition to an Academy Award, Springsteen won a Golden Globe and a Grammy for the haunting song. Demme’s 1993 movie was one of the first Hollywood films to take a look at the AIDS crisis. The film also won Tom Hanks his first best actor Oscar.

When Springsteen accepted his Oscar in 1994, he thanked Demme for “having me as a part of your picture,” saying, “I’m glad my song has contributed to its ideas and its acceptance.”

After their collaboration on “Philadelphia,” Demme directed the music video for Springsteen’s 1995 hit “Murder Incorporated.”

E Street Band member Steven Van Zandt took to Twitter to pay his own respects. Van Zandt called Demme “one of our great filmmakers” and “one of the most beautiful souls on the planet. Another magical, irreplaceable friend gone.”

In addition to the E Street Band collaborations, Van Zandt had worked with Demme through the activist group Artists United Against Apartheid, which the rocker founded in 1985.

The group produced anti-apartheid anthem “Sun City,” for which Demme directed the video, receiving a Grammy nomination for his work.

Even Justin Timberlake paid his respects to Demme, who directed the 2016 concert film Justin Timberlake + the Tennessee Kids. “You, master of humanity. You, genius of storytelling. You, generous and warm man. You, special soul,” he wrote. “You taught me so much about life and art and about standing up for what you believe.”

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