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Charlie Daniels, a country music icon and the head of the Charlie Daniels Band, has died at 83, more than 40 years after his most famous song became a major radio hit. Reports coming down the pipeline indicate that Daniels suffered a stroke. He’d been dealing with various physical ailments for a few years now.
Charlie Daniels’ publicist broke the news, saying “The Devil Went Down To Georgia” singer had been hospitalized in Hermitage, Tennessee and had died there on Monday. The AP mentions he had previously suffered an additional stroke back in 2010 and had also had a pacemaker put in a few years later in 2013.
Meanwhile, Charlie Daniels had continued to perform on tour with regular dates. In 2016, he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame after having already joined the Grand Ole Opry in 2008. Though he was a fixture on the country music scene for decades and even appears on Bob Dylan albums like Nashville Skyline, Charlie Daniels is most known for his Grammy Award-winning song "The Devil Went Down To Georgia." (He notably sang the song with an arm broken in five places during the awards ceremony after the song was a hit.) The song has popped up in pop culture over the decades, including in episodes of Robot Chicken (a parody) and Futurama (a reference). In addition, a parody of the song exists called “The Devil Went Down To Jamaica.”
Along with his success with the hit single, Charlie Daniels also worked extensively as a session musician, doing work with the aforementioned Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Hank Williams Jr. and The Marshall Tucker Band. His own band, The Charlie Daniels Band, formed in the early '70s, saw success with "The South's Gonna Do It Again" in 1975. "The Devil Went Down To Georgia" was a big hit a few years later in 1979.
Ricky Skaggs, himself a Grammy winner and Country Music Hall of Famer, as well as a person whose life was touched by the late Charlie Daniels, shared a nice post paying tribute to his friend in the industry. He took to Twitter to talk about how Charlie Daniels was really one of his favorite people ever, sharing with fans:
One of my favorite people on this earth Charlie Daniels has gone on to his eternal reward today. Oh, how he will be missed at the Grand Ole Opry and everywhere else he was loved.
Popular Nashville musical space The Ryman also shared its own tribute to the country musician, who was also a part of the Grand Ole Opry that was for many years hosted at the venue, which is an historic landmark in Nashville. Daniels talked about playing at The Ryman in a 2017 interview with WSM Radio, sharing memories about how he had always heard about The Ryman and its prominence as a kid before getting to "walk onstage" there himself.
Speaking of the Opry, that organization also shared a touching post featuring Charlie Daniels' thoughts about belonging to the organization, also thanking Daniels for his contributions to the world of country music.
Charlie Daniels is survived by his wife Hazel and their son Charlie Daniels Jr. Our hearts go out to them and everyone affected by the late, great singer and songwriter during his time on this planet.