Justin Townes Earle: Police say death was a ‘probable drug overdose’

Artist was described as a ‘brilliant songwriter and generous soul’

Louis Chilton
Wednesday 26 August 2020 10:56
Award-winning singer-songwriter Justin Townes Earle dies

A police spokesperson has stated that the late singer-songwriter Justin Townes Earle died of a “probable drug overdose”.

The Americana star, who was the son of acclaimed singer-songwriter Steve Earle, was 38 years old when he died last week.

A representative for the Metro Nashville Police Department told The Tennessean that police officers conducted a welfare check at Earle’s apartment on Sunday 23 August, following a report from one of Earle’s friends that they had been unable to contact him.

Police spokesperson Don Aaron also told radio station WKRN that the cause of death was a “probable drug overdose”, though an autopsy is still pending.

News of Earle’s death was made public after his family posted a statement on Facebook, which read: “It is with tremendous sadness that we inform you of the passing of our son, husband, father and friend Justin.

Justin Townes Earle performs onstage in Indio, California in 2013 Getty)

“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.”

Earle, who was named after the legendary songwriter Townes Van Zandt, had released eight studio albums and an EP, which spanned traditional country music, folk, roots and Americana.

Earle’s struggles with addiction were well known to his fans, and he had spoken in interviews about battling addiction since being in his early teens.

Many musicians and fans paid tribute to the artist following his death, including Stephen King, Jason Isbell, and Billy Bragg.

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“Had a lot of good times and made a lot of good music with JTE. So sad for his family tonight,” wrote Isbell. “Justin bought the suit I got married in.”

Bragg wrote: “I’m saddened to hear that we have lost Justin Townes Earle and at such a young age. I worked with him last year and found him to be a brilliant songwriter and generous soul.”

To find support for drug addiction near you, visit the website for Frank. You can also call the charity’s 24/7 helpline on 0300 123 6600, text 82111 or send an email.

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