John Prine, considered one of the most influential songwriters of his generation, died Tuesday after a battle with COVID-19. He was 73.
Rolling Stone reports Prine, who had beaten squamous cell cancer in 1998 and lung cancer in 2013, died at Nashville's Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
His wife and manager, Fiona Whelan Prine, announced on March 19 she had tested positive for the coronavirus after the couple's return from a European tour. Prine was then stricken, and spent 13 days in an ICU unit ahead of his passing.
Prine's work has been praised by the best in music, including Bob Dylan, who referred to his songs as "pure Proustian existentialism. Midwestern mind-trips to the nth degree."
He was covered by Bonnie Raitt, Johnny Cash, Carly Simon, George Strait, the Everly Brothers, Joan Baez and many more.
Born October 10, 1946, in Maywood, Illinois, Prine studied music early on, served in the U.S. Army, and found work as a mailman. He was discovered by performer Kris Kristofferson, releasing his debut album in 1971.
He was prolific and self-determining, co-founding Oh Boy Records in 1984 in order to control his work.
Over the course of his career, signature tunes included "Illegal Smile" (1971), "Sam Stone" (1971), "The Great Compromise" (1972), "Dear Abby" (1973), "Grandpa Was a Carpenter" (1973), and "Come Back to Us Barbara Lewis Hare Krishna Beauregard" (1975). He also recorded many standards.
After a 13-year break from original work, Prine triumphed in 2018 with the release of the album "The Tree of Forgiveness," which hit the Top 5 of the Billboard 200.
In January, Prine attended the Grammys, where he received a Lifetime Achievement Award.
He was mourned on Twitter by a long list of artists, including Bruce Springsteen, who 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.— Bruce Springsteen (@springsteen) April 8, 2020