Justin Townes Earle, celebrated singer-songwriter, has died aged 38
(Credit: Philip Nelson)

Justin Townes Earle, celebrated singer-songwriter, has died aged 38

Justin Townes Earle, much loved American singer-songwriter, has past away at the age of 38.

With music engrained in his life, Earle is the son of acclaimed US songwriter Steve Earle and named after his father’s idol Townes Van Zandt. The cause of death has not yet been confirmed.

“It is with tremendous sadness that we inform you of the passing of our son, husband, father and friend Justin,” a post on Earle’s official social media account read. “So many of you have relied on his music and lyrics over the years and we hope that his music will continue to guide you on your journeys. You will be missed dearly Justin.”

Throughout his career, Earle played in a number of different bands, including a period of time in which he held down the role of guitarist and keyboardist for his father’s touring band the Dukes. Honing his skills, the musician began to find his own ground with a unique approach to folk and country music and ultimately released his debut six-song EP, Yuma, which propelled him to critical acclaim.

Many tributes have been posted in memory of Earle, some of which have been led by musician Samantha Crain who said: “Such a tremendous songwriter. He took me on two tours and always treated me so kindly. He understood struggle, he understood joy I saw him at the peaks and valleys of both through the 13 years I knew him.”

Hanif Abdurraqib added: “Justin Townes Earle was such an incredible writer of narrative — stories that flourished beyond the music they were laid over. The people and places in his songs always felt so touchable to me. Sad to hear the news of his passing.”

Even acclaimed novelist Stephen King reacted to the tragic news: “It appears that Justin Townes Earle has died,” he wrtoe. “I hope it’s a hoax but fear it is not. What a loss.”

See the full tributes, below.

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