Legendary Americana singer-songwriter John Prine has died from COVID-19. His family broke the news to Rolling Stone, reporting Tuesday that Prine had passed on at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. He was 73.
John Prine was hospitalised for COVID-19 symptoms on Thursday, 26 March. Just two days later, he was reported to be in critical condition and required breathing assistance through a ventilator.
The reports on Prine’s health came from his wife and manager, Mary Whelan Prine, who provided regular updates on her husband’s condition on Twitter. On March 31, she reported that she herself had beaten COVID-19 – she had also tested positive after returning from Europe – and that Prine’s condition in the hospital had stabilised.
However, after 13 days in intensive care, the musician succumbed to complications related to the disease.
Prine enjoyed a career that spanned close to five decades, earning him numerous achievements that include the Grammy’s Lifetime Achievement Award, two Grammy wins for Best Contemporary Folk Album, a place in the Songwriters Hall Of Fame and the PEN New England Song Lyrics Of Literary Excellence Award, whose recipients also include Leonard Cohen and Chuck Berry.
His influence over modern Americana was powerful and far-reaching, with his prowess as a songwriter applauded by peers such as Bob Dylan, who considered Prine one of his favourite songwriters.
“He writes beautiful songs. I remember when Kris Kristofferson first brought him on the scene. All that stuff about Sam Stone, the soldier junky daddy and Donald And Lydia, where people make love from 10 miles away. Nobody but Prine could write like that,” Dylan told Far Out Magazine.
Prine’s final record was 2018’s The Tree Of Forgiveness, which took fifth place on the Billboard 200 upon its debut. Before his hospitalisation, he toured relentlessly around the world in support of the album, performing at some of the most uncharacteristically big shows of his career – which included sold-out shows in New York’s Radio City Music Hall and the Olympia Theatre in Dublin, Ireland.
John Prine is survived by his wife, and three children.
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