Joe Diffie, GRAMMY-Winning Country Singer, Dies at 61 From Coronavirus Complications
By Jennifer Drysdale
Crystal K. Martel
Joe Diffie has died from complications due to coronavirus, ET confirms. He was 61. Diffie's family asks for their privacy to be respected at this time, his rep tells ET.
The country music legend was one of the most successful singer-songwriters of the 1990s, having written hits for artists like Tim McGraw, Conway Twitty and Jo Dee Messina. He won a GRAMMY Award in 1998 for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals, for "Same Old Train."
Diffie's hits include "Home," "If The Devil Danced (In Empty Pockets)," "New Way (To Light Up An Old Flame)," "Ships That Don’t Come In," "Honky Tonk Attitude," and more. He recently celebrated 25 years as a member of the Grand Ole Opry.
The singer shared on Friday that he was receiving treatment after testing positive for COVID-19. "I am under the care of medical professionals," he wrote, in part, on Instagram. "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 week earlier, Diffie posted about having to reschedule shows due to the outbreak.
"I just want to say to all the fans, the show cancellations are not my idea of a good time. Promoters, venues etc are postponing these events, as expected with everything going on. These shows that are postponed are affecting all of us musicians and our bands, crews, drivers, etc. Please pray for all of us and hope we can get America back on track and back to normal," he wrote. "We definitely will miss all of the fans and we plan on rescheduling any shows postponed! Thanks for being the greatest fans ever! Stay well and see you out there soon!!!"
Country artists took to social media on Sunday to mourn Diffie's death. "Consistently one of the kindest artists to run into," Kelsea Ballerini shared. "This is really, really heavy. Thinking of his beautiful wife and family."
Consistently one of the kindest artists to run into. This is really, really heavy. Thinking of his beautiful wife and family. 💔 https://t.co/0hzzXAtrMG
"RIP to the great Joe Diffie," wrote Bobby Bones. "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. Joe died of Coronavirus complications."
RIP to the great Joe Diffie . 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. Joe died of Coronavirus complications pic.twitter.com/uBZ0hw9kYQ
"So saddened to hear the news of our dear friend, Joe Diffie. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Joe's family and loved ones during this time," Eddie Montgomery of Montgomery Gentry told ET.
"I really stopped in my tracks for the first time when I got the news of Joe passing away. We spoke a week ago and he said, 'Don't worry, Colt, I'm gonna be fine.'" He was one of the best country singers I have ever heard, and an even better guy. Rest Easy, Joe," Colt Ford said.
See more reactions below.
Absolutely no words for the loss of Joe Diffie. The music and legacy he leaves behind are legendary. Prayers for his family and friends. 💔
We are feeling it now. Oklahoma boy Joe Diffie has passed away from this virus. My kids grew up around his parents. My prayers will be with his family. A great traditional voice will live on cuz I’m putting his music on now. Here’s a beer to ya, Joe. Go get your reward. -T
I don’t know what to say. I am playing your songs loud and shedding a tear. Thank you for being a great friend and mentor. They say “don’t meet your hero’s” @JoeDiffieOnline that wasn’t the case with you. Rest easy my brother. Love ya.
Coronavirus was officially declared a pandemic earlier this month. Since then, it's claimed the lives of several notable figures, including Top Chef Masters star Floyd Cardoz and playwright Terrence McNally.