Joe Diffie, an icon to many country fans for his string of No. 1 hits in the 1990s, has died from complications related to the coronavirus, a spokesperson revealed Sunday afternoon.
“Grammy-winning country music legend Joe Diffie passed away today, Sunday, March 29, from complications of coronavirus (COVID-19),” the statement read simply. “His family respects their privacy at this time.”
Diffie, 61, headlined the Morrow County Fair last summer.
Whether singing about untarnished love in the enduring hit “John Deere Green,” the perennial appeal of “Pickup Man” or the heartbreak of dreams unrealized in “Ships That Don’t Come In,” Diffie’s songs have continually painted a portrait of real life with all its joy and angst.
Last Friday, Diffie become the first country star to go public with a coronavirus diagnosis.
“I am under the care of medical professionals and currently receiving treatment,” a statement attributed to him read. “My family and I are asking for privacy at this time. We want to remind the public and all my fans to be vigilant, cautious and careful during this pandemic.”
A native of Tulsa, Oklahoma, Diffie, who was born Dec. 28, 1958, lived in Texas and Washington before moving to Nashville in the 1980s and found work as a demo singer before signing with Epic Nashville in 1990.
Last year Diffie said, in a news release:
“I love music. It’s just a part of me. Retiring would be like cutting off my arm or something. I enjoy everything about it. The travel part gets old once in a while admittedly, but I love the fans. It beats working any day.”