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Country singer Joe Diffie dies of coronavirus complications

Associated Press • Mar 29, 2020 at 6:36 PM

NEW YORK — Country singer Joe Diffie, who had a string of hits in the 1990s with chart-topping ballads and honky-tonk singles like “Home” and “Pickup Man,” has died after testing positive for COVID-19. He was 61.

Diffie on Friday announced he had contracted the coronavirus, becoming the first country star to go public with such a diagnosis. Diffie’s publicist Scott Adkins said the singer died Sunday in Nashville, Tennessee, due to complications from the virus.

Diffie, a native of Tulsa, Oklahoma, was a member of the Grand Ole Opry for more than 25 years. His hits included “Honky Tonk Attitude,” “Prop Me Up Beside the Jukebox (If I Die),” “Bigger Than the Beatles” and “If the Devil Danced (In Empty Pockets).”

His mid-90s albums “Honkey Tonk Attitude” and “Third Rock From the Sun” went platinum. Eighteen of Diffie’s singles landed in the top 10 on the country charts, with five going No. 1. In his 2013 single “1994,” Jason Aldean name-checked the ‘90s country mainstay.

Diffie shared in a Grammy award for best country collaboration for the song “Same Old Train,” with Merle Haggard, Marty Stuart and others. His last solo album was 2010’s “The Bluegrass Album: Homecoming.”

Diffie is survived by his wife, Tara Terpening Diffie, and seven children from four marriages.

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