Vince Gill posted a heartfelt goodbye to Charlie Daniels on Instagram on Monday as news of Daniels' death spread. Daniels passed away on Monday morning following a hemorrhagic stroke, according to a statement by his publicist. Of all the public tributes to him posted online, Gill's was one of the most heartfelt.
"I first met Charlie Daniels in 1976, and then when I was touring as part of Pure Prairie League, we opened a bunch of shows for him. I made a great friend in Charlie, and we've remained friends for over 40 years -- that's hard to do," Gill wrote on Monday. "He was a great example of loyalty and I'll miss him." Gill's statement was also included in an impromptu interview with Billboard. It accompanied a photo of himself and Daniels together, where Daniels had his hands wrapped around Gill from behind. Both wore big smiles.
View this post on Instagram
“I first met Charlie Daniels in 1976, and then when I was touring as part of Pure Prairie League, we opened a bunch of shows for him. I made a great friend in Charlie, and we've remained friends for over 40 years -- that's hard to do. He was a great example of loyalty and I'll miss him." Read More on @billboard. (Photo Credit: Rick Diamond)
Daniels was just setting out on his music career when Gill was born in the late 1950s. While Daniels went out and created classic hits like "The Devil Went Down to Georgia," Gill followed in his footsteps just a few years behind. Both were known for blending the genres of country and Southern rock, along with bluegrass.
Daniels worked on music steadily from the 1950s up until the time of his death, with shows still scheduled later this year. However, he was no stranger to medical issues either. In 2014, Daniels wrote about how he had survived everything from serious broken bones, to heart problems, cancer and even a previous stroke. His essay "Doctors Treat and God Heals" was published by The TODAY Show in 2014.
"I have had my pacemaker for a year now. It is unobtrusive and doesn't change my lifestyle at all except I have to be careful around high-wattage electricity," he wrote at the time. "What's happened in medical science in my lifetime is truly mind-boggling -- so much suffering alleviated, so many lives improved and changed, and I speak as one who knows through experience. I always remember that the doctors treat and God heals, an unbeatable combination."
Daniels is survived by his wife, Hazel and their son, Charlie Daniels, Jr. On Sunday, he posted his final tweets — a pair of prayers that many fans couldn't believe he went out on. One was a quote from the Bible — John 14:27 NIV — the other was a quote directly from Daniels himself.
"Lord, give us the courage to speak our mind, to be honest, and bold about our feelings, no matter who, or how many we go against," it read.