Country music icon and Country Music Hall of Famer Charlie Daniels died at the age of 83 Monday at Summit Medical Center in Hermitage, Tennessee, of what doctors determined was a hemorrhagic stroke. The Grand Ole Opry member's publicist, Don Murry Grubbs, confirmed the news of his death just hours after he passed and said that funeral arrangements are forthcoming. He is survived by his wife, Hazel, and son Charlie Daniels Jr.
Daniels is best known for his 1979 song "The Devil Went Down to Georgia," which he played with The Charlie Daniels Band, but he had quite the career before that song cemented his place in southern rock history. Before he was headlining under his own band, Daniels had a rich history as an instrumentalist, singer and songwriter in Nashville, Tennessee. Performing as a session musician, he played on three of Bob Dylan’s albums, including Nashville Skyline, as well as on recordings for Ringo Starr and Leonard Cohen. Over the course of his career, Daniels also received a number of accolades from his peers, including his induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Musicians Hall of Fame and membership in the Grand Ole Opry.
In 2019, Daniels told The Oklahoman that he never ceased to be "amazed" at what "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" had done for him and his band, telling the story of a friend who was mountain climbing in Chile and heard the hit song playing on the radio. "It always amazes me when I hear about something like that. It's just been a great song for us," he told the outlet.
"It is fun to play and one of the reasons it’s fun to play is because that’s the one everybody wants to hear," he continued. "You know when you get to that every night it’s gonna a song everybody’s gonna recognize and everybody’s gonna get into. So, it's definitely a high point of the night. We close with that. There’s nothing we have to follow it with. ...We’ve climbed all the heights we can, it’s time to leave."
Later in his life, Daniels spent much of his time working to support the many causes close to his heart, including those affecting veterans. He even helped found The Journey Home Project in 2014 with his manager, David Corlew, to help veterans of the United States Armed Forces. He told PopCulture.com in a 2019 interview of his passion for helping veterans, "There's some pretty unique problems involved. ...We're an extension of it more so than it being an extension of us because it's bigger than we are."