Country music star Joe Diffie, whose hits such as “Third Rock From The Sun” and others tore up the charts in the ’90s, has died of COVID-19, the respiratory illness that derives from the novel coronavirus, Rolling Stone reports. He was 61.
He Was Diagnosed With COVID-19 Last Week
On Friday, The Associated Press reported that Diffie had tested positive for COVID-19. At the time, his publicist, Scott Adkins, confirmed that Diffie was receiving treatment from medical professionals.
“I am under care of medical professionals and currently receiving treatment after testing positive for coronavirus (COVID-19). My family and I are asking for privacy at this time. We want to remind the public and all my fans to be vigilant, cautious and careful during this pandemic,” Diffie said in a statement.
The AP also noted at the time that, for the vast majority of people who contract COVID-19, they will get through it with minimal symptoms or no symptoms. However, the press agency also said that older people, or people with underlying health conditions, are more susceptible to severe complications from the disease. Those complications can include pneumonia and death.
His Social Media Accounts Show How The Disease Progressed
Diffie’s social media accounts give a glimpse into the progression of the disease in the performer’s life.
On March 18, Diffie, or an employee who manages his social media accounts, posted on Instagram that the singer regretted having to cancel concerts due to social distancing, and asked for prayers for himself and his crew.
View this post on Instagram
I just want to say to all the fans, the show cancellations are not my idea of a good time. Promoters, venues etc are postponing these events, as expected with everything going on. These shows that are postponed are affecting all of us musicians and our bands, crews, drivers, etc. Please pray for all of us and hope we can get America back on track and back to normal. We definitely will miss all of the fans and we plan on rescheduling any shows postponed! Thanks for being the greatest fans ever! Stay well and see you out there soon!!!
Days later, he posted a statement on Instagram confirming that he’d contracted the virus.
Then on Sunday afternoon, someone with access to his Instagram account posted a tribute to the late singer.
His Facebook account showed a similar progression of posts.
His Twitter account had been inactive since his last post on January 7, back before the coronavirus pandemic had fully exploded.
Diffie was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1958, into a musical family. By the age of 14, he was performing in his Aunt Dawn Anita’s country music band, according to his biography on Allmusic.
Diffie had at one time wanted to go to medical school, and had even earned college credits toward that goal, but instead got married, for the first time, and dropped out of college. He worked various jobs and worked with various local bands, before hitting it big in the ’90s, with hits such as “Home” and “If The Devil Danced (In Empty Pockets).”
Joe Diffie had five children from three previous marriages. One of his children, Tyler, preceded his father in death. In addition to his four living children and three ex-wives, Diffie is survived by his most-recent wife, Theresa.