NEW YORK (AP) – Country singer Joe Diffie, who had a string of hits in the 1990s with chart-topping ballads and honky-tonk singles like â€œHomeâ€ and â€œPickup Man,â€ 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 â€œHonky Tonk Attitude,” â€œProp Me Up Beside the Jukebox (If I Die),” â€œBigger Than the Beatles” and â€œIf the Devil Danced (In Empty Pockets).â€
His mid-90s albums â€œHonkey Tonk Attitudeâ€ and â€œThird Rock From the Sunâ€ went platinum. Eighteen of Diffie’s singles landed in the top 10, with five going No. 1. In his 2013 single â€œ1994,â€ Jason Aldean name-checked the ’90s country mainstay.
Diffie is survived by his wife, Tara Terpening Diffie, and five children from his five marriages.