After decades of health troubles, country legend John Prine died on April 7, 2020, from COVID-19 complications.
The country music community had followed the saga of Prine’s condition through the social media posts of his wife and manager, Fiona Whelan Prine. The multiple Grammy-winning singer was hospitalized nearly two weeks before his death after experiencing sudden onset symptoms of the virus and was intubated shortly thereafter.
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While his wife announced that he was stable, his condition did not improve. He has remained in the Intensive Care Unit at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Tennessee until his death. The beloved country artist was 73 years old.
John Prine, a resilient singer-songwriter, whose songs often seem like vibrant short stories that influenced generations of folk and country artists, dealt with several serious health issues throughout the past decades.
In the late 1990s, the singer was diagnosed with squamous cell cancer in his neck, which led him to rounds of surgery and radiation, which had damaged his vocal cords. Critics were quick to notice the deepening of Prine’s vocal timbre, but this had not affected the quality of his delivery.
However, fifteen years after his diagnosis, Prine once again revealed that he had an operable form of cancer, “nonsmall cell carcinoma,” in his left lung. He had part of one lung removed to treat lung cancer.
The Loss Of John Prine Resonated Through The Music World
For over half a century, John Prine songs have been famous for their humorous lyrics about love, life, and current events, gaining the respect of Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Bruce Springsteen, and many other music legends.
It’s no surprise when hundreds responded to the news of his death. This includes singer Bonnie Raitt who said she was “crushed by the loss” of a good friend. Ashley McBryde, Jason Isbell, Toby Keith as well as the Grand Ole Opry also took to Twitter to express their grief.
Indeed, we lost one of the gems in country music.