Jannis Noya Makrigiannis, the core and founding member of Choir of Young Believers, has died at age 39. The artist’s U.S. label, Ghostly International, confirmed the news Thursday (Jan. 5) and revealed that after struggling with “a short period of illness,” the musician died just before New Year’s Eve.
Makrigiannis formed Choir of Young Believers in Copenhagen, Denmark, with the help of his friends and fellow musicians. By 2007, the group had released its first EP, Burn the Flag, and a year later, the debut album This Is for the White in Your Eyes. The album’s lead single, “Hollow Talk,” gained traction throughout Denmark on radio due to its sync on opening and closing credits of the Danish–Swedish police television series The Bridge.
Following a performance at the 2009 South by Southwest music festival, Choir of Young Believers were signed to Ghostly International, their U.S. label. The label released This Is for the White in Your Eyes in North America on Aug. 18, 2009.
Choir of Young Believers’ most recent album, Holy Smoke, came out on Nov. 4.
“Jannis was a gentle, kind soul, always appreciative of our team helping him to share his art with the world. He always put art first in his process, and as a result, Jannis was often far ahead of the cultural curve,” Ghostly International wrote about the musician in its statement. “His music only seems to get better with time.”