John Prine 1946 – 2020

By Andy Kahn Apr 7, 2020 6:22 pm PDT

Update: Read a message from John Prine’s wife Fiona Whelan Prine:

Our beloved John died yesterday evening at Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville TN. We have no words to describe the grief our family is experiencing at this time. John was the love of my life and adored by our sons Jody, Jack and Tommy, daughter in law Fanny, and by our grandchildren.

John contracted Covid-19 and in spite of the incredible skill and care of his medical team at Vanderbilt he could not overcome the damage this virus inflicted on his body.

I sat with John – who was deeply sedated – in the hours before he passed and will be forever grateful for that opportunity.

My dearest wish is that people of all ages take this virus seriously and follow guidelines set by the CDC. We send our condolences and love to the thousands of other American families who are grieving the loss of loved ones at this time – and to so many other families across the world.

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the outpouring of love we have received from family, friends, and fans all over the world. John will be so missed but he will continue to comfort us with his words and music and the gifts of kindness, humor and love he left for all of us to share.

In lieu of flowers or gifts at this time we would ask that a donation be made to one of the following non profits:

Legendary singer-songwriter John Prine has died at the age of 73. Prine was hospitalized on Thursday, March 26 after testing positive for COVID-19. Prine was intubated on Saturday, March 29 and his death was confirmed by his family to Rolling Stone and The New York Times.

Prine rose to prominence in the late-1960s folk scene that grew out of Chicago. He wrote such well-known songs as “Angel From Montgomery,” “Paradise,” “Hello In There,” “All The Best,” “Bruised Orange,” “Sam Stone,” “Speed Of The Sound Of Loneliness,” “In Spite of Ourselves,” “Souvenirs,” “Lake Marie” and many others.

Prine was born on October 10, 1946, and raised in the Chicago suburb of Maywood, Illinois. He began his career performing in folk clubs in Chicago alongside contemporaries like his friend, the late Steve Goodman. At age 23, while still employed as a mail carrier, Prine was seen performing by Chicago Sun-Times critic Roger Ebert whose subsequent review helped propel Prine’s popularity.

After being championed by Kris Kristofferson, Prine released his critically-acclaimed self-titled debut album 1971. The album introduced Prine’s original compositions “Angel From Montgomery,” “Sam Stone,” “Hello In There,” “Illegal Smile” and others. He continued to release albums over the subsequent decades and toured regularly. In 2019, Prine released his final album, The Tree Of Forgiveness, which was produced by Dave Cobb and recorded at Nashville’s historic Studio A. The record saw guest appearances by Brandi Carlile, Dan Auerbach, Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires.

Prine tapped a number of women singer-songwriters such as Emmylou Harris, Iris DeMent, Lucinda Williams and his wife Fiona Prine for his 1999 duets album, In Spite Of Ourselves. Prine’s second duets album, 2016’s For Better, Or Worse saw contributions from Susan Tedeschi, Alison Krauss, Kacey Musgraves, Amanda Shires and Miranda Lambert, among others.

Prine’s songs have been covered by Bonnie Raitt, Johnny Cash, Jason Isbell, Brandi Carlile, Kris Kristofferson, Dwight Yoakam, The Everly Brothers, David Allan Coe, Zac Brown Band, Todd Snider, Loretta Lynn and many more. The 2010 Broken Hearts & Dirty Windows Prine tribute album featured covers recorded by Justin Vernon, My Morning Jacket, The Avett Brothers, Old Crow Medicine Show, Sara Watkins, Drive-By Truckers and more.

In 1998, Prine underwent surgery for neck cancer and in 2013 he had another surgery to remove cancer from his lung. Earlier this year, Prine canceled concerts in order to undergo hip replacement surgery. His wife, Fiona Prine, recently revealed she tested positive and recovered from COVID-19.

Prine entered the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2003 and was inducted into the Songwriters Hall Of Fame in 2019. Prine won the Artist of the Year award at the 2005 and 2017 Americana Music Honors & Awards. He twice won the Grammy Award for Best Folk Album and received the Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 2015. Prine was also the recipient of the 2020 Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

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