John Prine, Nation Songwriting Legend, Dies at 73 of Coronavirus Issues

John Prine, Country Songwriting Legend, Dies at 73 of Coronavirus Complications


John Prine, the country-folk singer and songwriter behind classics akin to “Angel from Montgomery,” died Tuesday, April 7 at age 73.

The musician died because of problems from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) on the Vanderbilt College Medical Heart in Nashville, a consultant confirmed on behalf of Prine’s household to PEOPLE Tuesday.

Prine was hospitalized with a “sudden onset” of COVID-19 signs on March 26 and intubated on March 28, his household wrote in a press release posted to Instagram on March 29.

“That is laborious information for us to share,” his household wrote. “However so lots of you have got cherished and supported John through the years, we wished to let , and provide the probability to ship on extra of that love and help now,” the assertion continued. “And know that we love you, and John loves you.”

His spouse of 23 years, Fiona Whelan Prine, was additionally identified with COVID-19 earlier in March and had been protecting followers up to date about Prine’s situation whereas he was within the hospital.

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On April 2, Fiona shared on Instagram that she was unable to be with Prine within the hospital’s intensive care unit with a view to stay secure herself, which she mentioned “makes this nightmare all of the extra distressing for me.”

“As , John was placed on a ventilator final Saturday,” she wrote. “He nonetheless wants fairly a little bit of assist along with his respiration. Like many sufferers presently in ICU beds all around the globe, John has pneumonia in each lungs. He has additionally developed some peripheral points which are being handled with meds, together with antibiotics.”

Fiona additionally thanked everybody for the “outpouring of affection and prayers that John and household has acquired this final week.”

“It means the world to us to have your love and help at this troublesome time,” she wrote. “John loves you and I really like you too.❤💚

With songs that spanned from poignant to political to rollickingly humorous, Prine earned the admiration of musical icons akin to Bob Dylan and Johnny Money. He was honored at January’s Grammys with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Bonnie Raitt sang Prine’s 1971 ballad “Angel from Montgomery” — considered one of her signature live performance songs — onstage.

Born in Illinois to folks from western Kentucky, Prine served within the Military and labored as a mailman earlier than his profession within the Chicago people scene began taking off, with assist from a rave assessment by Roger Ebert. “He wrote a full web page on ‘Singing Mailman Delivers The Message,’ I believe that was the headline,” Prine recalled in a 2018 NPR interview. “And I by no means had an empty seat after that.”

His critically acclaimed debut album in 1971 contained a number of songs now thought of classics of country-folk, together with “Sam Stone,” a few Vietnam veteran hooked on heroin (which included the haunting line “There’s a gap in Daddy’s arm the place all the cash goes”); “Hiya in There,” which lamented the loneliness of getting old; “Paradise,” impressed by his father’s tales of the devastation brought on by coal strip-mining in his house city; and the anti-war track “Your Flag Decal Gained’t Get You Into Heaven Anymore;” together with “Angel from Montgomery.”

Prine additionally co-wrote David Allan Coe’s satirical 1975 hit “You By no means Even Referred to as Me By My Identify” (although he took his credit score off). Artists who coated his songs included John Denver, the Everly Brothers, Carly Simon, Dwight Yoakum and Bette Midler. “Prine’s stuff is pure Proustian existentialism. Midwestern thoughts journeys to the nth diploma,” Bob Dylan advised The Huffington Put up in 2009.

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Lately, Prine survived most cancers twice. In 1998, he had surgical procedure and radiation to battle squamous cell most cancers that was discovered on his neck, and underwent a 12 months of speech remedy earlier than he may carry out once more, with a extra gravelly voice.

“I believe it improved my voice, if something,” he advised NPR. “I at all times had a tough time listening to my singing earlier than my surgical procedure.”

In 2013, he survived lung most cancers, regaining his power by operating up and down the steps of his home after which choosing up his guitar to sing a track. He launched his final album, The Tree of Forgiveness, in 2018.

He’s survived by Fiona and their three kids.

“He was extremely endearing and witty,” Bonnie Raitt advised Rolling Stone in 2017. “The mix of being that tender and that clever and that astute blended along with his homespun humorousness – it was most likely the closest factor for these of us that didn’t get the blessing of seeing Mark Twain in particular person.”

As details about the coronavirus pandemic quickly modifications, PEOPLE is dedicated to offering the newest knowledge in our protection. A few of the data on this story might have modified after publication. For the most recent on COVID-19, readers are inspired to make use of on-line sources from CDC, WHO, and native public well being departments and go to our coronavirus hub.