Joe Diffie, the Grammy Award-winning country music star, known for his 1993 hit song John Deere Green, has died from complications due to coronavirus disease.
The singer passed away on Sunday at the age of 61, according to a statement released by Adkins Publicity, his management company.
“Grammy-winning country music legend Joe Diffie passed away today, Sunday, March 29, from complications of coronavirus (COVID-19). His family respects their privacy at this time.”
No further details about his death have been released and it is not yet known if he was suffering from any underlying health issues.
Diffie’s death comes after he became the first country music star to publicly announce a coronavirus diagnosis, according to Variety.
He took to Facebook on Friday to announce that he had tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 disease.
“I am under the care of medical professionals and currently receiving treatment after testing positive for coronavirus (COVID-19)… We want to remind the public and all my fans to be vigilant, cautious and careful during this pandemic.”
Diffie was reportedly set to release I Got This, his first studio album in seven years, after a special vinyl release, Joe, Joe, Joe Diffie, was released last year.
His death comes after King Crimson drummer, Bill Rieflin, died earlier in the week at the age of 59.
Monsters and Critics also reported that the folk music legend Julie Felix died on Sunday, March 22, at the age of 81.
People have been paying tribute to the country music legend
Fans, associates, and fellow country music stars have been posting glowing tributes to Diffie on Twitter.
Fellow country music stars who have posted emotional tributes include Granger Smith, Cole Swindell, Darryl Worley, Trace Adkins, and Chely Wright.
“Even though I’ve been doing this for a long time, it’s like I want to pinch myself still. It’s an awful neat deal to be able to live out your dream.” – Joe Diffie
Joe, thank you for all of the music and light you've given us. Thank you for letting us be part of your dream. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/QY0wzZAm08
— Grand Ole Opry (@opry) March 29, 2020
Here’s to you Pickup Man. You inspired an entire generation of country singers and accepted us all with kindness, gratitude and buckets of talent. ?? #joediffie
— Granger Smith (@GrangerSmith) March 29, 2020
2020… damn. RIP Pickup Man. So sad. We lost Joe Diffie
— Cole Swindell (@coleswindell) March 29, 2020
I knew this was bound to hit close to home. Today it did. I just heard the news of Joe Diffie’s passing. I am sick in my spirit because I can’t bear the thought of not hearing that voice for a while. He was a dear friend& understood me and my convictions. Full post on Facebook. pic.twitter.com/WgV52wEMkZ
— Darryl Worley (@darrylworley) March 29, 2020
— Trace Adkins (@TraceAdkins) March 29, 2020
Joe Diffie bio
Joe Diffie was born in December 1958 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, but his family moved to Austin, Texas, and later Washington, when he was a child.
He attended Cameron University in Lawton, Oklahoma, and moved to Nashville some years after graduation to start his music career.
Diffie was a prolific country musician who produced a large number of hit singles throughout his career that peaked in the 1990s and 2000s.
He was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 1993.
Several of his songs — including Home, If the Devil Danced (In Empty Pockets), 3rd Rock from the Sun, Bigger Than the Beatles, and Pickup Man — topped the Billboard’s Hot Country Song chart.
In 1998, he won a Grammy for best country collaboration — with Marty Stuart, Clint Black, Merle Haggard, and others — for the song, Same Old Train.
He released several studio albums during his career, with two going platinum and two certified gold, according to Variety.
In 2013, country superstar Jason Aldean released a tribute song, titled 1994, co-written with Thomas Rhett, Luke Laird, and Barry Dean. Chris Young also gave the country music legend a shout out in his song, Raised On Country.
Diffie, who married multiple times, was survived by his wife Tara Terpening Diffie and seven children from four marriages.