In his previous post on March 28, Willner alluded to a possible positive COVID-19 diagnosis, tweeting a U.S. map of coronavirus outbreaks with the New York area highlighted in red. “In bed on Upper West Side,” he tweeted. “I always wanted to have a number one, but not this.”
Willner’s 40-plus career span saw him work with some of music’s greatest stars, including; Faithfull, Laurie Anderson, Debbie Harry, Iggy Pop, Lou Reed, Keith Richards, Henry Rollins, Tom Waits, Lucinda Williams, Allen Ginsberg, and William S. Burroughs, as well as being instrumental in launching Jeff Buckley’s career.
In 1980, Willner joined Saturday Night Live as the series’ music supervisor.
“As unique a person I ever had the fortune to cross paths with,” tweeted Seth Meyers, Late Night host and former SNL staffer.
Several stars took to social media to express their sadness over Willner’s death.