Charlie Daniels died today at the age of 83. His publicist said he passed away at Summit Medical Center in Hermitage, Tennessee. Doctors determined the cause of death was a hemorrhagic stroke. Just days before his death, Daniels posted his last message to fans, a song about his love for his country.
Daniels was best-known for his hit “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.” His music blended country and Southern Rock combined with some sharp fiddle playing. He was also known for Dove Award-winning gospel albums.
He was a member of the Grand Ole Opry, Country Music Hall of Fame, and Musicians Hall of Fame.
Daniels was well known for his support of charitable causes including The Journey Home Project, that he founded in 2014 with his manager, David Corlew, to help veterans of the United States Armed Forces.
Back in April, Daniels joined forced with the group Code of Vets, to aid former U.S. servicemen and women suffering amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
His Volunteer Jam concerts and tours raised money aid charitable causes for more than 40 years. Daniels recently announced that this year’s show would be moved to 2021 due to COVID-19.
Country Stars Mourn Daniels
Other music stars mourned Daniels’ passing. Tim McGraw said, “I grew up on his music. And always, without fail, every time I had the pleasure of being around him, he was one of the most genuine, kind, and thoughtful folks I’ve ever run across.”
Luke Bryan remembered him as a patriot. “A true patriot, Christian, and country music icon. Prayers to his family. Thank you for all your contributions on and off the stage.”
Gretchen Wilson, who famously sang in her hit ‘Redneck Woman’ that “I know all the words to every Charlie Daniels song” said, “I never met a better man than Charlie Daniels. He was so inspiring in so many ways. May he Rest In Peace alongside his Creator and continue to inspire!”
My Beautiful America
Daniels posted a patriotic message to his website on July 3rd. “This year, as we celebrate the 244th birthday of the greatest nation the world has ever known, we are beset with many problems, some of our making and some we have no control over. But, be that as it is, America is still the greatest and I want to express my personal feelings about our beloved country, its magnificence, its beauty, and its diverse population. Wishing all Americans a happy and reflective Independence Day.”
He included the lyrics to “My Beautiful America,” a song he’d written.
My Beautiful America
Have you ever spent the late afternoon,
Watching the purple shadows deepen in the Arizona desert?
Or seen a herd of Elk plow their way
Through waist-deep snow on a cold Colorado dawn?
Did you ever see the sun go down in Hawaii
Or seen the stormy waves break over the rockbound coast of Maine
Or have you ever see an eagle fly up out of the mists of Alaska
Or a big October moon hanging full over the still Dakota badlands?
Have you ever tasted the gumbo in New Orleans, barbecue in Carolina
Or the chicken wings in Buffalo?
Have you ever had Brunswick stew in Macon, or cornbread in Birmingham?
Or briskets slow cook over hill country mesquite wood?
Did you ever drink the water from a gurgling branch in Utah,
Or stand on the mountain above El Paso Del Norte
And see the lights twinkling clear over into Mexico
Did you ever jingle horses in the pre-dawn stillness of a perfect Texas day
And watch their shod hooves kicking up sparks on the volcanic rock?
Or tended a trotline on a foggy Carolina morning,
Or heard the distant love song of a lovesick whippoorwill
On a pristine Tennessee late night?
Have you seen the faces on Mount Rushmore or stood at the Vietnam monument?
Have you ever crossed the mighty Mississippi,
Or been to the Daddy of ‘Em All in Cheyenne, Wyoming
Or seen the mighty Vols run out on the football field on a chilly autumn afternoon?
Did you ever see the Chicago skyline from Lakeshore Drive at night
Or the New England foliage in the fall,
Or the summer beauty of the Shenandoah Valley,
Or Indiana covered with new snow?
Did you ever seen a herd of wild horses running free
Across the empty spaces of Nevada?
Or caught a walleyed pike out of a cold Wisconsin stream,
Or marveled at the tall ships docked in the harbor at Baltimore?
Did you ever see the early morning dew sparkling on the bluegrass,
Or the wind stir the wheat fields on a hot Kansas afternoon
Or driven the lonely stretches of old Route 66
Have you ever heard the church bells peal their call to worship
On an early Sunday, in some small town in the Deep South?
Or passed through the Redwood Forest just as the sun was going down
Have you ever been to Boise or Baxley or Beaufort or Billings?
Have you ever passed through Sanford or Suffolk or San Angelo
Have you ever seen the falls at Niagara
The Ice Palace in Saint Paul
Or the Gateway to the West?
This then is America!
The land God blesses with everything
And no Eiffel Tower: no Taj Mahal,
No Alps, No Andes
No native hut, nor Royal Palace –
Can rival her awesome beauty,
Her diverse population, her monolithic majesty.
America the Free
America the mighty
America the beautiful
I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America
And to the republic for which it stands
One nation under God, indivisible
with liberty and justice for all.
What do you think?
Pray for our troops, and for the peace of Jerusalem.
God Bless America
— Charlie Daniels
Funeral arrangements will be announced in the coming days.