Country music legend Charlie Daniels, who was known for hits like “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” passed away on Monday after suffering a hemorrhagic stroke. He was 83 years old.
Fox News reported that representatives for Daniels said in a statement that he died at the Summit Medical Center in Hermitage, Tennessee. “Few artists have left a more indelible mark on America’s musical landscape than Charlie Daniels. An outspoken patriot, beloved mentor, and a true road warrior, Daniels parlayed his passion for music into a multi-platinum career and a platform to support the military, underprivileged children, and others in need,” their statement read.
Daniels’ career in music spanned decades and earned him numerous accolades including being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Musicians Hall of Fame, and becoming a member of the Grand Ole Opry. He scored tons of hits throughout his career, but his most enduring one is undoubtedly “The Devil Went Down To Georgia,” which he released in 1979.
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The military was a cause that was close to Daniels’ heart, and he raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for veterans during his lifetime. He also founded the Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center at Middle Tennessee State University, which will continue to assist veterans long after his death. “I’ve played for them in bases in this country, overseas, on ships at sea, in Greenland, and Cuba, all over the place,” Daniels said of veterans in 2019. “And the main reason is to let them know somebody cares.”
We are deeply saddened by the passing of Charlie Daniels. Charlie was a proud supporter of the Nashville Predators and we are so grateful for his love over the years.
Our hearts are with his wife Hazel, his loved ones, and the country music community. 💛 pic.twitter.com/wCerMwRgkx
— Nashville Predators (@PredsNHL) July 6, 2020
In his book “Country U.S.A.,” country historian Bill C. Malone revealed what made Daniels so appealing to his fans. “This big, gruff, tobacco-chewing, outspoken musician embodied Southern good-old-boy traits almost to the point of caricature,” Malone wrote of Daniels. “He was nationalistic, hedonistic, macho…and lovable. He also made compelling music.”
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Daniels continued touring right up until the COVID-19 pandemic took hold this year. “People come to see you to hear the songs they’ve heard on the radio, so we always do ‘Devil Went Down to Georgia’ and ‘Legend of Wooley Swamp,’ but every year we add some new things,” Daniels recently told The Oklahoman. “We play a lot of the same places year after year and we don’t want to do exactly the same set for everybody.”
Daniels is survived by his wife Hazel and their son Charles Jr. When Daniels and Hazel celebrated their 50th anniversary back in 2014, they marked the occasion by returning to Oklahoma so that he could perform at the Oklahoma State Fair. “We made a joint decision just to go ahead and work that night and treat it like any other night, basically,” Daniels said at the time. “We travel around so much, we have so many special days. We got married in Oklahoma, in Tulsa. My wife is from Tulsa. We got married there 50 years ago that date, and I just decided to go ahead and work that night. So, we’re back in Oklahoma after 50 years under some totally different circumstances.”
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