3 Years Ago: Joe Diffie Dies From Complications of COVID-19

Three years ago today was a sad day for the country music community. On March 29, 2020, Joe Diffie passed away from complications of COVID-19. Diffie was just 61 years old when he died.

Only a couple of days before his death, and as the impact of the coronavirus pandemic was beginning to be felt all across the world, Diffie released a statement saying he was hospitalized with the infection.

“My family and I are asking for privacy at this time,” Diffie said at the time. “We want to remind the public and all my fans to be vigilant, cautious and careful during this pandemic,”

Diffie’s first album, A Thousand Winding Roads, was released in 1990. Throughout his career, which spanned three decades, the Oklahoma native released 13 albums, and had more than 20 Top 10 singles, including “If The Devil Danced (In Empty Pockets).” “Third Rock From The Sun,” “Pickup Man” and “Bigger Than The Beatles,” which all became No. 1 hits for Diffie.

After Jason Aldean released his hit single, “1994,” a musical tribute to Diffie which included the lyric, “Joe, Joe, Joe Diffie,” the hitmaker released his first-ever vinyl album, appropriately titled Joe, Joe, Joe Diffie in 2019.

Diffie was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 1993. He was also a member of the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame. Diffie won one Grammy Award, in 1998, for Best Country Collaboration With Vocals, for his part on “Same Old Train.”

The country music community was greatly impacted by Diffie’s death, and spoke out publicly about the profound loss.

“Joe was a friend and touring partner with me in the 90’s,” Travis Tritt said. “This comes as a huge shock to all of us in the country music community. Deepest condolences to Joe’s family, friends and fans.”

“Sometimes I hear bad news, and over and over again in that cold empty space,” Tanya Tucker said. “I think if I wait a minute or two, the news will change, but it’s final. Joe Diffie, one of our best singers and my buddy, is gone. We are the same age, so it’s very scary. I will miss his voice, his laughter, his songs. My thoughts go out to his entire family. I’ll love you always Joe and am so grateful you were in my life.”

“I’m devastated by the loss of my friend,” Brad Paisley said. “I can’t find adequate words. But the records he made, that voice, the twinkle in his eye, and our memories cannot be taken away by this disease. Please celebrate his music today everyone, go listen again to his records.”

“We are feeling it now,” Toby Keith tweeted. “Oklahoma boy Joe Diffie has passed away from this virus. My kids grew up around his parents. My prayers will be with his family. A great traditional voice will live on cuz I’m putting his music on now. Here’s a beer to ya, Joe. Go get your reward.”

“Can’t believe the news about Joe Diffie,” said Keith Urban. “My heart breaks for your family and friends – and fans ……. count me right in there too – you were THE REAL DEAL JOE.”

All of Diffie’s music is available at JoeDiffie.com.