Joe Diffie has tragically passed away at the age of 61. The ‘John Deere Green’ singer tested positive for COVID-19 just one week prior to his death.
Joe Diffie has died at 61 from complications related to coronavirus. The country music hitmaker passed away on Sunday, March 29 just days after revealing he had been diagnosed with COVID-19, the virus which has caused thousands of deaths around the globe. “Grammy-winning country music legend Joe Diffie passed away today, Sunday, March 29, from complications of coronavirus (COVID-19),” a statement from his representatives read. “His family respects their privacy at this time.” Just days earlier, on March 27, the Oklahoma-native become the first country star to go public with a coronavirus diagnosis. “I am under the care of medical professionals and currently receiving treatment,” he said in a statement at the time. “My family and I are asking for privacy at this time. We want to remind the public and all my fans to be vigilant, cautious and careful during this pandemic.” Here’s five things to know about the legendary country singer.
1. He had 35 singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. Joe charted 35 singles between 1990 and 2004, five of which hit number one: his debut release “Home”, “If the Devil Danced (In Empty Pockets)”, “Third Rock from the Sun”, “Pickup Man” (his longest-lasting number-one song, at four weeks) and “Bigger Than the Beatles”. In addition to these tracks, another 12 of his songs reached the top 10.
2. He wrote songs for some of country music’s biggest stars. Joe didn’t just write his own tracks, he also collaborated with other country artists, and co-wrote songs for Holly Dunn, Tim McGraw, and Jo Dee Messina. He had a no-nonsense approach to his craft. “I just like the songs themselves,” he told our sister site Rolling Stone in 2019. “Finding songs I really liked and that I related to. Really, it’s not any more complicated than that.”
3. Jason Aldean wrote a tribute song to Joe in 2012. Joe was so adored within the country music community, that Jason Aldean recorded a track called “1984” which has been described as a tribute song to Joe. The track, which was released in 2012, calls out the names of a half-dozen Joe Diffie hits, includes lines like “1994 / Joe Diffie comin’ out my radio” and “Hey Joe, come on and teach us how to Diffie.” It also features this chant as its chorus: “Joe, Joe, Joe Diffie.”
4. Joe won a Grammy Award in 1998. The country hitmaker won the award for ‘Best Country Collaboration with Vocals’ at the 1998 Grammys for “Same Old Train” with Marty Stuart. He was also nominated for an award back in 1993 in the same category for his song “Not Too Much To Ask” with Mary Chapin Carpenter.
5. He went to medical school. The Tulsa, Oklahoma native attended Cameron University in Lawton, Oklahoma after graduating high school. He intended to pursue a career in the field, and even earned three years worth of credits towards a medical degree before dropping out to follow his passion for music.