Country star Charlie Daniels dies aged 83: 'few artists touched so many generations'

The star, who performed with Bob Dylan, is in the Country Music Hall of Fame

The Charlie Daniels Band performs 'The Devil Went Down to Georgia' at the 50th Annual Country Music Association Awards in Nashville in 2016. Reuters
The Charlie Daniels Band performs 'The Devil Went Down to Georgia' at the 50th Annual Country Music Association Awards in Nashville in 2016. Reuters

Southern rock singer Charlie Daniels, best known for his hit Devil Went Down to Georgia, has died at the age of 83.

A statement from his publicist said the Country Music Hall of Fame member died on Monday, at a hospital in Hermitage, Tennessee, after doctors said he had a stroke.

He had suffered a mild stroke in January 2010 and had a pacemaker implanted in 2013, but continued to perform.

Daniels, a singer, guitarist and fiddler, started out as a session musician, even playing on Bob Dylan's Nashville Skyline sessions. Beginning in the early 1970s, his five-piece band toured endlessly, sometimes doing more than 250 shows a year.

FILE - Charlie Daniels, center, joins members of the Charlie Daniels Band with their Grammy Awards in Los Angeles on Feb. 27, 1980, as best country vocal performance by a group for their hit "The Devil Went Down To Georgia." Daniels has died at age 83. A statement from his publicist said the Country Music Hall of Famer died Monday, July 6, 2020, due to a hemorrhagic stroke. (AP Photo/Lennox McLendon, File)
Charlie Daniels, centre, and members of the Charlie Daniels Band with their Grammy Awards in Los Angeles in 1980. AP

“I can ask people where they are from, and if they say Waukegan, I can say I’ve played there. If they say Baton Rouge, I can say I’ve played there. There’s not a city we haven’t played in,” Daniels said in 1998.

He performed at the White House, at the Super Bowl, throughout Europe and often for troops in the Middle East.

He played himself in the 1980 John Travolta movie Urban Cowboy and was credited for the rise of country music as a result of the film. Some of his other hits were Drinkin’ My Baby Goodbye, Boogie Woogie Fiddle Country Blues and Uneasy Rider.

In 1998, he received the Pioneer Award from the Academy of Country Music.

He is survived by his wife, Hazel, and his son, Charlie Daniels Jr.

“There are few artists that touched so many different generations in our business than Charlie Daniels did,” said Sarah Trahern, chief executive of the Country Music Association, in a statement. “Today, our community has lost an innovator and advocate of Country Music. Both Charlie and Hazel had become dear friends of mine over the last several years, and I was privileged to be able to celebrate Charlie’s induction into the Opry as well as tell him that he was going to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame."

Contemporary country artists, such as Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean, also paid tribute to Daniels on social media. “What a hero. A true patriot, Christian, and country music icon. Prayers to his family,” said Bryan in a tweet.

Updated: July 7, 2020 06:41 PM

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