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Remembering Country/Folk Legend John Prine: 1946-2020
Legendary country/folk singer/songwriter John Prine has passed away at the age of 73 after a battle with the coronavirus, it was reported on Tuesday.
Prine was admitted to the hospital after showing symptoms associated with COVID-19 in late March, with his family stating he was in ‘critical’ condition. A few days later, he was still in the ICU with pneumonia in both lungs, according to wife Fiona Phelan Prine, but the latest update on Tuesday was that he had passed away at the facility.
On Wednesday morning, Prine’s wife, Fiona, posted the following on his Instagram page:
From Fiona Whelan Prine… Our beloved John died yesterday evening at Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville TN. We have no words to describe the grief our family is experiencing at this time. John was the love of my life and adored by our sons Jody, Jack and Tommy, daughter in law Fanny, and by our grandchildren.
John contracted Covid-19 and in spite of the incredible skill and care of his medical team at Vanderbilt he could not overcome the damage this virus inflicted on his body.
I sat with John – who was deeply sedated- in the hours before he passed and will be forever grateful for that opportunity.
My dearest wish is that people of all ages take this virus seriously and follow guidelines set by the CDC. We send our condolences and love to the thousands of other American families who are grieving the loss of loved ones at this time – and to so many other families across the world.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the outpouring of love we have received from family, friends, and fans all over the world. John will be so missed but he will continue to comfort us with his words and music and the gifts of kindness, humor and love he left for all of us to share.
In lieu of flowers or gifts at this time we would ask that a donation be made to one of the following non profits:
View this post on Instagram
From Fiona Whelan Prine… Our beloved John died yesterday evening at Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville TN. We have no words to describe the grief our family is experiencing at this time. John was the love of my life and adored by our sons Jody, Jack and Tommy, daughter in law Fanny, and by our grandchildren. John contracted Covid-19 and in spite of the incredible skill and care of his medical team at Vanderbilt he could not overcome the damage this virus inflicted on his body. I sat with John – who was deeply sedated- in the hours before he passed and will be forever grateful for that opportunity. My dearest wish is that people of all ages take this virus seriously and follow guidelines set by the CDC. We send our condolences and love to the thousands of other American families who are grieving the loss of loved ones at this time – and to so many other families across the world. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the outpouring of love we have received from family, friends, and fans all over the world. John will be so missed but he will continue to comfort us with his words and music and the gifts of kindness, humor and love he left for all of us to share. In lieu of flowers or gifts at this time we would ask that a donation be made to one of the following non profits: thistlefarms.org roomintheinn.org nashvillerescuemission.org
Artists and songwriters of such impeccable skill and influence as John Prine are rare, and it’s all the more apparent when taking a look at the remembrances shared on social media by his musical colleagues, peers and those impacted by his songcraft.
Bonnie Raitt, who popularized Prine’s “Angel of Montgomery,” remembered her friend:
Words can't even come close.
I'm crushed by the loss of my dear friend, John. My heart and love go out to Fiona and all the family. For all of us whose hearts are breaking, we will keep singing his songs and holding him near. @JohnPrineMusic
— Bonnie Raitt (@TheBonnieRaitt) April 8, 2020
Prine’s website contains this quote from Raitt regarding Prine’s induction into the Songwriting Hall of Fame:
“The best songwriters and poets can get you to see something that may have been right there in front of you the whole time and you just never noticed. John can fit so much meaning and insight into such deceptively simple lines and leave a heart-wrenching moment of hilarity, empathy or hard fought truth into such beautiful stories and characters, then wrap them all up in melodies as comfortable as slipping into your favorite pair of jeans. What a gift!”
Other remembrances came from throughout the musical spectrum, from Bruce Springsteen:
Over here on E Street, we are crushed by the loss of John Prine. John and I were "New Dylans" together in the early 70s and he was never anything but the lovliest guy in the world. A true national treasure and a songwriter for the ages. We send our love and prayers to his family.
— Bruce Springsteen (@springsteen) April 8, 2020
To Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea …
Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes:
And Sheryl Crow …
My heart hurts learning that John Prine has passed away. He is singing with the angels. You will be missed but your songs will live on. ❤️
— Sheryl Crow (@SherylCrow) April 8, 2020
More tributes from Prine’s colleagues and peers were shared on Wednesday:
I have enjoyed John’s music for many years. He was a truly gifted man and he will be missed. My prayers go out to his family.” – Charley Pride
“All of The Oak Ridge Boys are saddened by the loss of John Prine. The man was a genius songwriter! I have been listening to his music and praying for him since he got sick and to be honest I didn’t really know John personally but my heart is heavy nonetheless.” – Joe Bonsall / Oak Ridge Boys
“Nashville has lost another legendary artist. John Prine will always be remembered for his great music. I will always remember John’s wonderful smile and how nice and caring he was. Sending lots of love to his family.” – Crystal Gayle
“So sad to see another great music legend leave us. My family sends prayers to John Prine’s family.” – Lee Greenwood
“John was a sweet genius who always had time for conversation with me and as a songwriter, he was untouchable.” – T. Graham Brown
“After having the honor of seeing John Prine on a few occasions, it was no secret how much he is loved and admired. I last saw him at the Marty Stuart Late Night Jam, and was fortunate to have a front row seat. I captured many great photos, and will cherish the photos as a wonderful memory of witnessing one of the greatest songwriters to walk God’s Earth.” – Rhonda Vincent
“I really feel like we’ve lost one of our generation’s great champions for living outside the senses.” – Lacy J. Dalton
“John Prine was a treasure! He inspired every singer/songwriter who has ever lived. He has survived several health challenges and I was praying that he would survive this. There was only one John Prine. Everyone looked up to him and he will be missed by not only Nashville, but around the world. We love you, John.” – Deborah Allen
“I used to sing his song “Paradise” about Muhlenburg county during my shows in clubs. It was written about how the coal mines stripped away the vegetation and trees. He also wrote “Angel From Montgomery,” which was a hit by Bonnie Raitt. This is the kind of music that I have always loved. It was a touch of blues and a touch of pop. I have always loved his music and style. He was a leader in the “awareness” songs and was a huge influence in my life and my approach to music. You will be missed, John.” – Janie Fricke
“I first met John Prine in the 70’s backstage at the Grand Ole Opry. He was perhaps one of the nicest guys I’ve ever had the honor to meet. No star attitude whatsoever. He was just an average guy who loved words. And he became one of the greatest wordsmiths of our time. His lyrics are pure poetry. He never worried about making his songs commercial. He wrote from the heart and the gut. Ironically I was in the studio last month and recorded one of his songs that I’ve loved for years called “Blue Umbrella.” John would say in three minutes what an author would say in 256 pages. What a talent!” – Tim Atwood
“So sad to hear the passing of the legendary John Prine. One of the most influential songwriters of our time gone way too soon! His music will live on forever.” – J.D. Shelburne
“John Prine was one of the most beloved and well-versed songwriters in the business, and his passing is a huge loss to songwriters and fans alike. The mark he made on the americana/folk/country music industry was remarkable – one that no one else could ever dream of accomplishing. His songwriting will be deeply missed, but even more than that is his infectious smile and sweet spirit. My thoughts and prayers go out to all of John’s family and friends, as well as all the fans he has made over the years. There will truly never be another John Prine.” – Paige King Johnson
We are heartbroken to hear about the passing of John Prine. His life and music will be celebrated by us as long as we are able .. we send prayers and condolences to his family at this time.. ~ Lukas and POTR pic.twitter.com/nw72SDEjHq
— Lukas Nelson & Promise Of The Real (@lukasnelson) April 8, 2020
It hurts so bad to read the news. I am gutted. My hero is gone. My friend is gone. We’ll love you forever John Prine.
— Margo Price (@MissMargoPrice) April 8, 2020
Terrible to hear. I remember meeting him and thinking he mistook me for someone else because he was so incredibly friendly. A genuinely nice person and a huge talent. https://t.co/g0gRKOi6at
— Paul Stanley (@PaulStanleyLive) April 8, 2020
Today we lost John Prine and Hal Wilner. Two geniuses. The world got a little darker today. Blessings to their friends and families.
— Robbie Robertson (@r0bbier0berts0n) April 8, 2020
— Bob Weir (@BobWeir) April 8, 2020
Coronavirus has taken one of the great ones: John Prine, dead at 73. So many memorable songs.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) April 8, 2020
— Anthony Mason (@AnthonyMasonCBS) April 8, 2020
We love you John.
— Jason Isbell (@JasonIsbell) April 8, 2020
John Prine . He done gone over to the Other side with Bill Withers, two of the Great Ones. How fortunate we all are to have witnessed the Humanity of these great men. We’re gonna miss these two. 🙁 -KMo@JohnPrineMusic pic.twitter.com/K0WUtT5vY3
— Keb' Mo' (@kebmomusic) April 8, 2020
better at it than pretty much any of us. decades of service to song. this is a loss with no upside. goodbye John Prine, your voice will live on as long as there's people who need help, which is to say forever. https://t.co/e6GA633ntl
— The Mountain Goats (@mountain_goats) April 8, 2020
Blow up your TV
Throw away your paper
Move to the country
Build you a home
Plant a little garden
Eat a lot of peaches
Try and find jesus
On your own
Safe travels, John Prine
— colin meloy (@colinmeloy) April 8, 2020
The power of John Prine’s music is evident in the far-reaching influence he had on generations of musicians — within the country/folk realm and elsewhere. He will truly be missed.