My dear Ivica,

 A long time ago my father told me that death was just an uncorroborated rumour. I believed it as a boy and now, more than ever before, I believe that when it comes to good people, death does not exist. Dostoyevsky tried to depict the ideal of human kindness in Prince Mishkin, someone who never wished anyone evil, who put up with whatever life threw at him. And if there was ever a crack in time, like in some science fiction movie, and Dostoyevsky met you, my dear Ivica, I’m sure Prince Mishkin would find himself with a literary brother. In the search for absolute goodness, another great literary work could be written based on you.

When I heard that your heart had stopped beating, I burst into tears. For fifteen minutes, I struggled with the news that we would never set eyes on each other again in this world. But then my mind drifted off to the times we spent together, the life we shared on stages across the world, and each time, in each place, there were your big eyes looking at me, eyes that hid nobility and goodness. The amount of bread we broke together, or the salt we ate together as our people would say. We toured every continent. There’s not a single country where the sound of your oriental, traditional Serbian dance and the nostalgia your notes whipped up, did not intoxicate the audience and awaken joy in me, your fellow musician.

Your companionship and your nobility meant that for the last twenty years we never once shot an irritated glance at each other, let alone quarrelled, and that, my dear Ivica, is what makes our friendship so great, so immeasurable. Great it was and great it will remain because your kindness, your goodness is so extraordinary. That’s the human trait that restores hope and faith in the eternity of the soul even though it’s not a trait of the times we live in. Souls like yours do not die. Wait there where you find yourself now – I know you’ve stepped through the Gates of Heaven – and we, your friends, will try our hardest, so we too earn the right to, eventually, walk through those very same gates and find you there.

Forever your friend Emir Kusturica