John Prine, one of America’s greatest songwriters passed away on April 7, 2020. He was 73.
The two-time Grammy Award-winning artist died after a long and arduous battle with coronavirus. His family first revealed that he was sick from COVId-19 on March 29. His family, which includes wife Fiona Whelan, whom he married in 1996, and their three sons Tommy, Jody, and Jack Prine, kept his friends and family updated on his health via Facebook.
On March 30, Whelan said via Twitter that Prine was “stable,” which she later clarified “is not the same thing as improving.” Whelan had also tested positive for coronavirus but as she recovered, Prine only got worse.
On April 3, Prine was on his 8th day in the Intensive Care Unit. Whelan wrote, “He is receiving excellent medical care and being treated with kindness and compassion by the entire team looking after him day and night. I cannot be with him which makes this nightmare all the more distressing for me.”
Whelan said at the time that he was still very ill “He still needs quite a bit of help with his breathing. Like many patients currently in ICU beds all around the world, John has pneumonia in both lungs. He has also developed some peripheral issues that are being treated with meds, including antibiotics.”
John Prine Previously Beat Cancer Twice
Prine had preexisting conditions before contracting COVID-19, which puts those infected at higher risk for having worse symptoms, especially for older adults. According to the CDC, “Based on currently available information and clinical expertise, older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.”
In 1998, doctors removed a cancerous tumor on the singer’s throat, according to The Hollywood Reporter. During the surgery, in order to fully remove the tumor, doctors also needed to remove parts of Prine’s neck, which was why his head was always leaned toward the side.
In 2013, Prine was diagnosed with “non-small cell carcinoma” on his lung, but thankfully, the doctor caught it early. At the time, Prine stated on his website that he wasn’t worried. “They see no reason why I won’t fully recover,” he wrote. Prine was forced to cancel a few shows during his recovery which caused him the most distress.
“For me, there’s nothing like performing,” Prine said. “I look forward to seeing all my friends and fans in 2014. We have some great cities and venues lined up.”
Tributes To The Iconic Songwriter Poured In Social Media
After being inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2019, Prine was honored by the Recording Academy with its 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award. He was also the recipient of the Grammys 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award. The songwriter, who worked and performed with numerous fellow famous artists throughout his career, left an indelible mark on the world through music.
Following the news of his passing, friends, fans, and fellow songwriters paid tribute to Prine with beautiful heartfelt messages on social media. Toby Keith tweeted, “The great John Prine has passed away from the virus. He showed me how to “let it rip” when it comes to songwriting. There’s a huge hole in the music world tonight. John did it best. RIP -T.”