Swados passed away in New York on Tuesday (05Jan16) due to complications stemming from surgery for oesophageal cancer she underwent in April, 2014, according to her wife Roz Lichter.

She is best known for creating the 1978 New York musical Runaways, which she wrote, composed, directed and choreographed. The production transferred to Broadway and received five Tony award nominations, including Best Musical.

Swandos contributed music to a number of New York productions, including the 1983 Broadway musical Doonesbury, based on the Garry Trudeau comic strip, and she teamed up with Trudeau again in 1984 for the satire Rap Master Ronnie.

She composed music for a number of films and documentaries, released three novels, seven children's books, and two memoirs, including My Depression: A Picture Book, an account of her mental health issues. She also co-wrote and co-directed the 2015 animated TV movie adaptation My Depression (The Up and Down and Up of It), which featured a voice cast including Susan Sarandon and Steve Buscemi.