Country Legend Joe Diffie Dies of Coronavirus Complications at 61

Joe Diffie, one of the most celebrated country artists of the 1990s, died Sunday from complications of the coronavirus, his publicist confirmed to PEOPLE. He was 61.

Two days before his death, the Grammy-winning artist said he tested positive for the virus.

“I am under the care of medical professionals and currently receiving treatment after testing positive for coronavirus,” he wrote on social media. “We want to remind the public and all my fans to be vigilant, cautious and careful during this pandemic.”

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Diffie, a Tulsa, Oklahoma native, became a household name in country music with more than 20 Top 10 hits and 13 albums.

The country hitmaker had five singles reach No. 1 on the charts, including his major hits “Home,” “Bigger Than the Beatles,” If the Devil Danced (In Empty Pockets,” “Third Rock From the Sun” and “Pickup Man.” He had not released a top 10 hit since 2001, according to NBC News.

Diffie, who was a member of the Grand Ole Opry for 25 years and an Oklahoma Hall of Famer, wrote for other country artists like Tim McGraw and was most notably recognized for Jason Aldean’s 2013 single “1994.”

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After news of Diffie’s death, many singers expressed their condolences on social media.

“I used to drive back and forth from Texas to TN listening to nothing but @officialjoediffie songs… I was lucky to get to know him… #RIP,” wrote country singer Chris Young on Instagram.

Travis Tritt, who was a “good friend and touring partner” of Diffie’s, shared several photos of the pair together on Instagram.

View this post on Instagram I’m so sad to learn that Joe Diffie has passed away due to complications from the Coronavirus. Joe was a good friend and touring partner with me in the 90’s. We had a lot of great times together, both onstage and offstage. This comes as a huge shock to all of us in the country music community who loved Joe and his talent. Deepest condolences to Joe’s family, friends and fans.

A post shared by Travis Tritt (@realtravistritt) on Mar 29, 2020 at 1:15pm PDT

//www.instagram.com/embed.js

“We had a lot of great times together, both onstage and offstage. This comes as a huge shock to all of us in the country music community who loved Joe and his talent. Deepest condolences to Joe’s family, friends and fans,” Tritt wrote.

Luke Combs also shared a tribute to Diffie on Instagram, posting a recent photo of the two together.

“Damn… this seems like yesterday, can’t believe you’re gone. Rest In Peace @officialjoediffie you were a legend,” he wrote.

View this post on Instagram Damn… this seems like yesterday, can’t believe you’re gone. Rest In Peace @officialjoediffie you were a legend.

A post shared by Luke Combs 🎤 (@lukecombs) on Mar 29, 2020 at 12:46pm PDT

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Country radio personality Bobby Bones shared his reaction on Twitter.

“We became buds over the last couple of years. It’s always great getting to know the people you were a fan of as a kid. That was absolutely the case w JD,” he said.

Cole Swindell also paid tribute, writing “2020…damn. RIP Pickup Man. So Sad. We lost Joe Diffie.”

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments and visit our coronavirus hub.



Source: People.com (https://people.com/country/joe-diffie-dies-coronavirus/)

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