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Joe Diffie, Grammy-Winning Country Music Singer, Dies at 61 Due to Coronavirus

Joe Diffie
INDIO, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 26: Singer Joe Diffie performs onstage during Day 1 of the 2019 Stagecoach Country Music Festival on April 26, 2019 in Indio, California. (Photo by Scott Dudelson/Getty Images for Stagecoach)

Joe Diffie, the Grammy-winning country music singer who rose to fame in the 1990s behind songs like “Pickup Man” and “John Deere Green,” has died. He was 61.

Diffie’s publicist confirms that his death was due to complications from COVID-19, and his wife Tara shared the news with his Instagram in a heartbreak post. “It’s with a sad heart that I have to post this,” she wrote alongside a photo of her late husband.

It was announced just on Friday that Diffie had contracted the coronavirus. “I am under the 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,” he wrote in an Instagram post on Saturday. “We want to remind the public and all my fans to be vigilant, cautious and careful during this pandemic.”

A week beforehand, the singer-songwriter expressed his frustrations with show cancellations due to the pandemic. “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,” he wrote. “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!!!”

Diffie won a Grammy in 1999 for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals for “Same Old Train” and a Vocal Event of the Year CMA for “I Don’t Need a Rocking Chair” in 1993. He also recorded five No. 1 singles in the early ’90s: “Home,” “If the Devil Danced (In Empty Pockets),” “Third Rock From the Sun,” “Pickup Man,” and “Bigger Than the Beatles.”