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Justin Townes Earle death: Stephen King and Margo Price lead tributes to singer-songwriter, who has died at 38

‘He understood struggle, he understood joy,’ tweeted musician Samantha Crain

Adam White
Monday 24 August 2020 07:00
Award-winning singer-songwriter Justin Townes Earle dies

Justin Townes Earle, the award-winning singer-songwriter and son of musician Steve Earle, has died at the age of 38.

Earle’s death was confirmed by a family representative on his official Facebook page.

“It is with tremendous sadness that we inform you of the passing of our son, husband, father and friend Justin,” the statement reads. “So many of you have relied on his music and lyrics over the years and we hope that his music will continue to guide you on your journeys. You will be missed dearly Justin.”

Earle’s cause of death has yet to be announced.

Born and raised in Nashville, Earle was estranged from his father at a young age, but they would later reconcile. He would work as a musician throughout his teens and twenties, before releasing his debut EP, Yuma, in 2007.

Earle would go on to release eight studio albums, including the acclaimed 2019 record The Saint of Lost Causes, which grappled with sociopolitical issues such as the Flint water crisis and environmentalism. In 2011, his track “Harlem River Blues” was named Song of the Year at the Americana Music Awards.

He was also open about his struggles with addiction, revealing in 2010 that he had overdosed on heroin five times by the age of 21. In 2017, following rehabilitation and two relapses, Earle told Rolling Stone that he was sober and “a participant of the marijuana maintenance program”.

Justin Townes Earle performs at the BMI Country Awards in 2012

Stephen King and Margo Price have led tributes to Earle on social media.

King wrote: “It appears that Justin Townes Earle has died. I hope it’s a hoax but fear it is not. What a loss.”

“Sending love and condolences to Steve Earle and the entire family of Justin Townes Earle,” Price tweeted. “He was always kind to me and he’s gone too soon.”

Musician Samantha Crain wrote: “My friend, Justin Townes Earle, has passed away. Such a tremendous songwriter...he took me on 2 tours and always treated me so kindly....he understood struggle, he understood joy...I saw him at the peaks and valleys of both through the 13 years I knew him...we will miss you JT.”

“RIP Justin Townes Earle…,” tweeted folk band The Head and the Heart. “We had the pleasure of playing a few shows together. He was such an immense songwriter and authentic soul. This year is a thief.”

Earle is survived by his wife and their daughter, who was born in 2017.

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