County Music Hall of Famer Charlie Daniels died suddenly from a hemorrhagic stroke, his publicist said Monday morning. The 83-year-old Daniels was performing and touring constantly, up until the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in March. The singer behind "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" planned to resume his tour in August, with several dates planned through into next year.
Daniels was originally scheduled to headline the 2020 Douglas County Fair and Rodeo in Castle Rock, Colorado on Aug. 1. According to the event's website, organizers still plan to hold the event, but the entertainment portion was mostly canceled, including Daniels' performance. "On behalf of our Fair Board and my fellow Commissioners, we are honored to welcome this outspoken patriot, beloved mentor to young artists and 83-year-old road warrior back to Douglas County," Roger Partridge, Chair, Board of Douglas County Commissioners, said in a statement in January, when Daniels' band was picked to perform at the event.
After his performance in Colorado, Daniels' tour itinerary next took him to the Oak Mountain Amphitheatre in Pelham, Alabama. The tour continued until early December, with stops in Tennessee, Florida, Ohio, Kansas, Connecticut, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and more planned. After a break for most of December, January, and February, Daniels had plans to hit the road again in March 2021. His last date planned was for July 11, 2021, in Webster, Massachusetts. He also had a major concert at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena planned for July 2, 2021.
Daniels started his music career in the mid-1960s and scored several country hits throughout the 1970s and 1980s. He had a crossover hit with "The Devil Went Down To Georgia," which was used in the John Travolta movie Urban Cowboy and won the Grammy for Best Country Vocal Performance. His other hits include "Uneasy Rider," "In America," "The Legend of Wooley Swamp" and "Still in Saigon." He joined the Grand Ole Opry in 2008 and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2016.
The musician died at Summit Medical Center in Hermitage, Tennessee. His body was escorted back to his home town of Mt. Juliet by police. His family will announce funeral arrangements in the future. However, several country music stars have already published tributes to him, including Luke Bryan. "Just learning of the passing of this great man. What a hero. A true patriot, Christian, and country music icon. Prayers to his family," the American Idol judge wrote. "Thank you for all your contributions on and off the stage. God bless you Charlie Daniels."