Country music radio host Bobby Bones took to Twitter to mourn Joe Diffie, the '90s country hitmaker who died on Sunday. Diffie was hospitalized due to complications from the coronavirus on Friday, and two days later his publicist announced his death, a sign of how fast COVID-19 moves. Diffie, whose hits include "John Deere Green," "Pickup Man" and "If The Devil Danced (In Empty Pockets)," was 61.
"RIP to the great Joe Diffie," Bones wrote on Twitter, alongside a recent picture of the two. "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."
Several of Bones' followers joined the host in mourning Diffie. "My family is heart broken. He was one of the best. Met him several times and my kids loved him. Many prayers being said for his family. Still hard to believe," one wrote.
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— Bobby Bones (@mrBobbyBones) March 29, 2020
The last time Bones interviewed Diffie was in December, as he prepared to release what would be his final album, Joe, Joe, Joe Diffie!, a collection of re-recordings of his hits. In the interview, Diffie recalled how being laid off from his job in Oklahoma at 28 years old put him on a path to stardom. He moved to Nashville, where he worked at Gibson Guitars before getting noticed by publishers and snagging a record deal.
Diffie logged Billboard number one singles with "Home," "If The Devil Danced (In Empty Pockets)," "Third Rock From The Sun," "Pickup Man" and "Bigger Than The Beatles." His other hits include "John Deere Green," "In My Own Backyard," "Ships That Don't Come In," "So Help Me Girl," "Texas Size Heartache" and "A Night To Remember."
Diffie's death struck a chord with the country music community, especially coming just days after Kenny Rogers died.
"I’m so sad to learn that Joe Diffie has passed away due to complications from the Coronavirus," Travis Ritt wrote on Instagram. "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."
Photo credit: Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for ACM