Charlie Daniels has died at the age of 83

 Known for his distinctive beard and tall cowboy hats as well as his signature song about a young man named Johnny and his pact with the devil, Charlie Daniels loomed large in country and Southern rock.

The Country Music Hall of Famer died Monday morning at Summit Medical Center in Hermitage, Tennessee, following a hemorrhagic stroke. He was 83.

According to Daniels’ publicist, funeral arrangements will be announced soon.

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A native of Wilmington, North Carolina, Daniels became skilled as guitarist, fiddler and banjo player early in life and ignited a music career in 1964 when he co-wrote “It Hurts Me” (recorded by Elvis Presley). Years of work as a Nashville session player landed him on records from Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen, and in 1971, Daniels released his self-titled debut. 

His chart success was dotted with minor country hits including “Uneasy Rider” in 1973 and “In America” in 1980. 

But it’s his 1979 story-song, “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” which landed him at No. 1 and remained his signature fiddle-thrashing song. 

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Daniels was a member of the Grand Old Opry and Musicians Hall of Fame and in 2014 founded The Journey Home Project to help U.S. military veterans.

In 2018, Daniels and his band played the Fox Theatre with Alabama and in November 2019, he made his final Atlanta appearance at the Fox as well, sharing a holiday concert bill with Travis Tritt. 

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About the Author

Melissa Ruggieri

Melissa Ruggieri

Atlanta Journal-Constitution staff writer Melissa Ruggieri covers music and entertainment news for the AJC. She remembers when MTV was awesome.  

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