Country music legend Charlie Daniels died on Monday morning, July 6, at the age of 83. His death was confirmed by his publicist, Don Murry Grubbs, as reported by the Tennessean. Daniels’ cause of death was a hemorrhagic stroke — which happens when a blood vessel ruptures and bleeds into the brain — and he died at Summit Medical Center in Hermitage, Tennessee, the New York Times reported.
Daniels was a member of the Grand Ole Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame, best known for the timeless classic “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.” The hit song by the Charlie Daniels Band topped the charts in 1979, at which point Daniels was already established as a talented and acclaimed singer and songwriter. He is survived by his wife, Hazel, and his son, Charlie Daniels Jr.
Here’s what you need to know:
Daniels Had a Pacemaker Placed in 2013 After Contracting Pneumonia & Has Written About His Health & Life in the Past
In 2013, Daniels underwent surgery to place a pacemaker implant after he contracted pneumonia. In March 2013, People reported that the country musician contracted mild pneumonia, and after undergoing some tests the doctors determined he needed a pacemaker to help regulate his heart rate.
Daniels told the outlet at the time: “I just had not been feeling well and wanted to get checked out. I am thankful the doctors found the problem and were able to implant a pacemaker to get my heart rate regulated. I am feeling so much better and looking forward to spending Easter with my family.”
Daniels also wrote a column on December 17, 2018, titled “Charlie Daniels: Doctors Treat, But God Applies the Healing Touch.” In the piece, he wrote that he also had a cardiac catheter ablation, which he explained in further detail. He said, “When people hear the word ‘heart’ and anything to do with its treatment, they tend to conjure up thoughts of cardiac arrest and open-heart surgery, and my condition had nothing to do with either one.” He said he wanted to write the piece so people would know the importance of getting themselves checked early:
Unattended to, little problems can turn into monsters when it comes to health. So, if your heart – or any other part of your body – needs medical attention, don’t put it off, and above all, don’t let your imagination run wild about what kind of treatment it would take to make you well again. It could be something very simple.
On October 26, 2018, Daniels wrote on his regular “Soap Box” blog, sharing his thoughts about turning 82 years old. He wrote about his blessings and encouraged people to follow their goals no matter their age.
He wrote in part, “I am deliriously happily married and have been for the last fifty-four years. … The list of people I could call to come and help me if I ran my car in the ditch at midnight is quite long and, at least in my opinion, the guys in my band all play much better than I do, always giving me challenges to respond to and mountains to climb in my profession.”
Daniels Had a Long & Successful Music Career as a Singer & Songwriter
Daniels had a successful music career that spanned decades, starting in the 1950s. His career took off in 1964 when he co-wrote Elvis Presley’s 1964 hit song, “It Hurts Me.” He then worked as a session musician in Nashville, playing guitar and bass on three Bob Dylan albums including the classic album “Nashville Skyline.” He also played on recordings for Leonard Cohen, Ringo Starr and Marty Robbins.
In 1970, he released his first solo album, Charlie Daniels, and two years later he formed the Charlie Daniels Band. In addition to his chart-topping hit “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” Daniels is also known for his 1973 song “Uneasy Rider,” his 1975 songs “The South’s Gonna Do It” and “Long Haired Country Boy” and the 1982 release “Still in Saigon.”
Daniels also founded the annual Nashville concert Volunteer Jam in 1974, which is headlined by the Charlie Daniels Band and features many other all-star acts. Daniels was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2016.