John Prine in critical condition after being hospitalised for coronavirus
(Credit: Eric Frommer)

John Prine, US folk legend, has died aged 73 due to coronavirus complications

The US folk and country legend, John Prine has sadly passed away due to complications following contracting coronavirus, aged 73.

Prine was an extremely gifted songwriter and was revered by his contemporaries, many of whom have no come out in tribute of the late star.

The singer was hospitalised on 26th March, and was in intensive care for 13 days before dying on Tuesday, at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Tennessee. Prine’s family confirmed his death to several US media outlets yesterday.

Prine is often regarded as one of the finest songwriters of all time and his music has a heartwarming ability unlike many others. He will be sorely missed by the entire musical world.

Taking to Twitter, Bruce Springsteen wrote “we are crushed by the loss of John Prine. John and I were ‘New Dylans’ together in the early 70s and he was never anything but the loveliest guy in the world. A true national treasure and a songwriter for the ages.”

Born and raised on the outskirts of Chicago, Prine only picked up playing guitar and singing as a hobby during downtime as his role as a postman—where he wrote most of his classic songs. One night would change his life when, after complaining about the talent on show at an open mic night, he was challenged to do better.

He rounded off a three-song set which would not only gain him rapturous applause but also provide him with a $1,000-a-weekend residency and allow him to pursue music full time. It was in Chicago that Prine came across Kris Kristofferson who instantly took a liking to him.

Soon enough, when Prine was visiting New York, Kristofferson organised a small gig filled with record-label staff. The next morning, Prine was signed to Atlantic Records, “Luck has a good deal to do with it, luck and timing,” once said Prine of his meteoric rise. “But when the luck and timing comes along, you’ve got to have the goods.”

Following his debut LP release in 1971, Prine would go on to release 19 studio albums and while he may never have been a chart-topping success or as widely lauded as Bob Dylan etc. John Prine will live long in the memory as the songwriter’s songwriter. Bob Dylan said in 2009: “Prine’s stuff is pure Proustian existentialism. Midwestern mind trips to the nth degree. And he writes beautiful songs.”

Prine won two Grammy awards from his huge eleven nominations. Prine was also given a lifetime achievement award at the 2020 ceremony. He will be remembered forevermore as one of the finest songwriters the 20th century ever had.

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