John Prine died at age 73 on April 7 due to complications from the coronavirus, one of over 60,000 people in the United States who have died from COVID-19. On Thursday, Prine's widow, Fiona Whelan Prine, referenced her husband's death in a tweet directed at Donald Trump, who has praised his own handling of the virus response in the United States.
"How dare you tell me your handling of this epic disaster is a success," Whelan Prine tweeted. "My husband died. 60,000 + American families are devastated tonight, with who knows how many more deaths right around the corner. How sad for America the Beautiful. You have ruined the Dream for all of us." Whelan Prine has been outspoken on social media about her dislike of Trump, and her previous tweet was a GIF of Dr. Anthony Fauci reacting to Trump speaking about the coroanvirus during a White House press conference.
On April 5, Whelan Prine wrote that she was "incensed" by Trump's comments on medical treatment, tweeting, "As a family deeply impacted by this devastating virus I offended by Trumps uninformed, frankly dangerous, ramblings about medical treatments, Right To Try, etc. and his personal, misguided uneducated opinions. #wakeuprepublicans #PleaseHelp."
Whelan Prine had herself contracted the coronavirus in March and recovered before her husband was diagnosed with the disease, and the legendary singer/songwriter was hospitalized in intensive care for 13 days before passing away. On what would be Prine's last day, Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville granted Whelan Prine a compassionate end-of-life visit to sit with him in the ICU. "I talked to him for 14, 15 hours and played music, played him other people doing his songs, played messages from all the kids and from his brothers and my family," she told Rolling Stone. "I told him things that I wanted to tell him. He couldn’t communicate with me, but I chose to believe that he could hear me."
Prine's family is unable to have a public funeral due to the coronavirus but shared that they are finding small ways to celebrate the late musician. "I’m going to wash all of his Cadillacs, park them all in the driveway," Whelan Prine said. "I would never let him do that." Whelan Prine's son Jody, who Prine adopted, said he is celebrating "the small stuff, because that’s what he loves, like a hot dog. Or an ice cream cone. We were having ice cream last night, just thinking about how, after a show, he’d always have ice cream and pretend it was someone’s birthday and get a cake."