"She was the smartest and most talented of all of us, by far."

Nick Cave has penned an emotional salute to Australian artist Anita Lane.

The two met when barely out of their teens, with Anita Lane becoming a key force in Nick Cave's first group The Birthday Party.

A hugely potent creative force, she wrote a number of the group's most loved songs, before contributing to the first iteration of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.

Her solo work with Mute remains dearly loved, and the label is planning to re-issue her catalogue on vinyl later this year.

Sadly, news of her death was confirmed yesterday (April 28th), with a host of friends and collaborators paying their respects.

Using his online portal The Red Hand Files, Nick Cave wrote an emotional tribute to someone he labelled "the smartest and most talented of all of us, by far."

The letter reveals that their friendship continued right up until her death, with the two having spoken on the phone a matter of weeks ago.

Nick Cave writes: "You think you know grief, you think you’ve worked out its mechanics, you think you’ve become grief-savvy — stronger, wiser, more resilient — you think that there is nothing more that can hurt you in this world, and then Anita dies."

Discussing her talents, he reflected on her spell in art school, and revealed that Anita wrote his "favourite Bad Seeds song" 'Stranger Than Kindness'.

He added: "Everyone wanted to work with her but it was like trying to trap lightning in a bottle. Mick Harvey managed to coral her into the recording studio, but these precious offerings are a fraction of what she was."

"She was the smartest and most talented of all of us, by far."

Beautifully written, his letter ends:

"It was both easy and terrifying to love her."

"Leaves a big, crying space."

Read the letter in full HERE.

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