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Folk singer John Prine dies aged 73 after contracting coronavirus

Folk singer John Prine has died at the age of 73 due to complications from coronavirus, his management has said (Niall Carson/PA)
Folk singer John Prine has died at the age of 73 due to complications from coronavirus, his management has said (Niall Carson/PA)

Folk singer John Prine has died at the age of 73 due to complications from the coronavirus, his management has said.

The singer-songwriter, one of the most influential figures in US folk and country music, had been in a critical condition after contracting Covid-19.

He died from complications caused by the virus on Tuesday at a hospital in Nashville, Tennessee, his management said.

Two-time Grammy winner Prine had been in hospital since last month and his wife and manager, Fiona, said on March 17 that she had also tested positive for coronavirus.

Revered rock star Bruce Springsteen, who emerged on the national stage around the same time as Prine, with both garnering comparisons to Bob Dylan, paid tribute to a “true national treasure”.

He tweeted: “Over here on E Street, 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 lovliest guy in the world. A true national treasure and a songwriter for the ages. We send our love and prayers to his family.”

Country music star Sheryl Crow said Prine’s music would endure.

She tweeted: “My heart hurts learning that John Prine has passed away. He is singing with the angels. You will be missed but your songs will live on.”

Ryan Peake, from the band Nickelback, said on the group’s Twitter account: “Sad news about John Prine. Amazing songwriter and musician. It’s a big loss to the music industry. Bill Withers and John Prine in a week. Goddamn it.”

Country music singer Margo Price was also among those paying tribute to Prine, who Rolling Stone called “one of America’s greatest songwriters”.

She tweeted: “It hurts so bad to read the news. I am gutted. My hero is gone. My friend is gone. We’ll love you forever John Prine.”

Oscar-winning filmmaker Taika Waititi said: “RIP John Prine. This sucks.”

And actress Rosanna Arquette shared a playlist of Prine’s music and wrote: “God bless you John Prine rest in power.”

Prine was born in Maywood, Illinois, and learned to play the guitar at 14. After returning from West Germany where he served in the US military, Prine moved to Chicago and began writing songs.

Critical acclaim soon followed and he released his self-titled debut album in 1971.

Over his more than 50-year career, Prine was considered one of the most influential songwriters of his generation, known throughout his more than 50-year-career for lyrics about love and life and for his social commentary.

Prine fought cancer twice, most recently battling lung cancer in 2013. The surgeries affected his voice but he continued to make music and tour.

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