... he was 56 when he died from lung cancer on
September 7, 2003.
-----Warren William Zevon was noted for his strange, sardonic opinions of life in his musical lyrics, composing songs that were sometimes humorous and often had political or historical themes. Although he could be considered a cult hero, Zevon's work has often been complimented by well-known musicians.
His best-known compositions include "Werewolves of London," "Lawyers, Guns and Money," "Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner" and "Johnny Strikes Up The Band," all of which are featured on his 1978 sophomore release, Excitable Boy. Other well-known songs written by Zevon have been recorded by other artists, including "Accidentally Like a Martyr," "Mohammed's Radio," "Carmelita," and "Hasten Down the Wind."
On October 30, 2002, Zevon was featured on the Late Show with David Letterman as the only guest for the entire hour. The band played "I'll Sleep When I'm Dead" as his introduction. Zevon performed several songs and spoke at length about his illness.
Zevon was a frequent guest and occasional substitute bandleader on Letterman's television shows since Late Night first broadcast during 1982. He noted, "I may have made a tactical error in not going to a physician for 20 years."
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-----I'll Sleep When I'm Dead: The Dirty Life and Times of Warren Zevon, a biography/oral history compiled by ex-wife Crystal Zevon, was published in 2007 by Ecco Books. The book is made up of interwoven interviews from many of Zevon's friends and associates, and is notable for its unvarnished portrayal of Zevon - at his request.