Charlie Daniels has died. The legendary country music singer who is perhaps best known for his mega-hit, “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” passed away following a stroke, The Tennesseean reported. He was 83.
According to Pop Culture, Daniels had faced serious health issues for the last two decades of his life. He’d been diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2001, and then suffered a previous stroke in 2010. He also survived a bout of pneumonia in 2013. It was during this hospitalization that doctors realized the singer needed a pacemaker.
He Died In A Nashville Hospital Of A Hemorrhagic Stroke
According to Nashville’s WZTV, Daniels suffered a stroke at Summit Medical Center in the Nashville suburb of Hermitage.
He is survived by his wife, Hazel, and son, Charlie Daniels Jr.
Later on Monday, Nashville police escorted the body of the country legend through the streets of the city, from the hospital where he died to the funeral home in the town of Mount Juliet, where he grew up.
He Was Born October 28, 1936 In Wilmington, North Carolina
According to the forward that he wrote for book The Tobacco State League; A North Carolina Baseball History, 1946–1950, Daniels grew up in a musical family, having been exposed to Pentecostal gospel, bluegrass, R&B, and of course, country music. By the time he graduated from high school in 1955, he was already skilled in the fiddle, guitar, banjo and mandolin.
In an interview for Country Music Television (CMT) in 2014, Daniels described being influenced as a musician and as a songwriter by Bob Dylan.
“I hung on every word that came out of his mouth and every note he played on his guitar. I was trying to interpret everything he was doing to the very best of my ability. I mean, I really got into it. I really concentrated as hard as I could. I played as good as I could,” he said at the time.
His Biggest Hit Was “Devil Went Down To Georgia”
Back in 1979, the Charlie Daniels Band released what would arguably become the defining single of Daniels’ career.
“The Devil Went Down to Georgia” is based melodically on a 1975 tune in which Daniels played the guitar. In the lyrics, which are themselves based on the classic literary motif of a character making a deal with the devil, a fiddle player named Johnny outwited the devil and won a golden fiddle in a contest.
According to Songfacts, Daniels himself has never been clear on the song’s origin.
“I don’t know where it came from, but it just did. Well, I think I might know where it came from, it may have come from an old poem called ‘The Mountain Whippoorwill’ that Stephen Vincent Benét wrote many, many years ago, that I had [read] in high school,” he said.
He Was A Zealous Patriot And An Advocate For Veterans
In addition to his most famous song, other Charlies Daniels hits referenced his love for his country and the military. For example, in response to the September 11 terrorist attacks, Daniels wrote and recorded “This Ain’t No Rag It’s A Flag.” Two decades earlier, in response to the plight of Vietnam veterans dealing with rejection in society as well as the psychological scars from war, Daniels had written and recorded “Still in Saigon.”
In a statement, Daniels’ management described his philanthropic contributions.
“An outspoken patriot… Daniels parlayed his passion for music into a multi-platinum career and a platform to support the military, underprivileged children, and others in need,” his group said.