On Friday, March 27, 2020, he announced that he had tested positive for the coronavirus.
Country singer Joe Diffie who was known for his hit ballads and honky-tonks in the 90's has passed away after succumbing to coronavirus complications, confirmed Rolling Stone.
On Friday, March 27, he announced that he had tested positive for the coronavirus and he breathed his last yesterday, March 29, in Nashville. He was 61.
Country music legend Joe Diffie passed away on Sunday from complications of coronavirus, the singer's publicist confirmed in a statement obtained by WKRN. https://t.co/MG7SVpFcTz— KFOR (@kfor) March 30, 2020
Joseph Logan Diffie was born in Tulsa and raised in the tiny community of Velma, Oklahoma. His father who had jobs as a teacher, rancher, truck driver, and welder, had musical tastes that flowed more toward the traditional country. Probably that's where Diffie got his traditional-leaning vocals from.
Diffie, however, learned about harmony singing by working in gospel and bluegrass groups, reported Rolling Stone.
He went on to have a string of hits in the 90's with chart-topping ballads and honky-tonk singles like Home and Pickup Man. His hits included Honky Tonk Attitude, Prop Me Up Beside the Jukebox (If I Die), Bigger Than the Beatles and If the Devil Danced (In Empty Pockets).
He continued his hit streak with six Top Five singles in a row, one of which, 1992’s somber Ships That Don’t Come In, would likely have gone to Number One but for its use of the word “b**ch” in the lyrics. In 1998, he won a Grammy award for Best Country Collaboration With Vocals for the all-star recording Same Old Train with Merle Haggard, Clint Black, Emmylou Harris, and more.
“Joe was a real true honky-tonk hero to every country artist alive today,” singer John Rich said in a statement as quoted by NY Times. “No one sang our music better than he did.”
Singer Deana Carter said she was “shell shocked” by the news and had hoped to perform again with Mr. Diffie this year. “He was a powerhouse that stopped people in their tracks, both on and offstage,” she said in a statement.
“There are plenty of singers in this town, but not many with a range like his,” Diffie’s fellow Opry star Vince Gill told People magazine in 1993.
“I just like the songs themselves,” the late singer told Rolling Stone in 2019. “I went that route finding songs I really liked and that I related to. Really, it’s not any more complicated than that.”
Joe Diffie is survived by his wife, Tara Terpening Diffie, and seven children from four marriages.
His music has left a lasting impact on fans of all ages, so, naturally, they took to Twitter to express their sadness and shock.
Well, he made it pretty well known what his last wishes were...so, here’s a lil tribute to Joe Diffie. #RIPJoeDiffie #LiveMusic #WashingtonMusic #WaMusic #PNW #Musician #Coronapocalypse #Coronacoustic #LiveFromHome #NoGigs #QuarantineSessions #HunkerdownSessions #TogetherAtHome pic.twitter.com/vEURrR0cw9— VaughtRock (@VaughtRock) March 30, 2020
It's a bad day for country music. Joe Diffie died of coronavirus, and Jan Howard passed away at 91. Rest in Peace and thank you for the music. 😥😰#RIPJoeDiffie— Batman From Marousi (@BMarousi) March 30, 2020
I simply can't wrap my mind around the fact that Joe Diffie is gone. He died with #coronavirus on Sunday. Absolutely heartbroken. Love you Joe. Always have. Always will. Rest in Peace precious friend. #JoeDiffie @JoeDiffieOnline #coronavirus pic.twitter.com/b2Lb70V0dN— Shannon McCombs (@RadioShannon) March 30, 2020
May his soul rest in peace!
Although the late Grammy winner was the first country singer to publicly announced his bout with the novel virus, a few Hollywood celebrities had earlier shared that they were tested positive which includes Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson, and Idris Elba.