(CelebrityAccess) — Grammy Award-winning country artist Joe Diffie, who scored hits in the 1990s such as “Pickup Man” and “Third Rock from the Sun” died on Sunday of complications of coronavirus. He was 61.
“GRAMMY®-winning country music legend Joe Diffie passed away today, Sunday, March 29 from complications of coronavirus (COVID-19). His family requests privacy at this time,” a statement announcing his passing said.
News of Diffie’s passing comes just two days after he posted a notice to social media that he was under the care of medical professionals after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
Known for his classic country music voice and his blue-collar ethic, Diffie came to a career in music after working in the oil construction industries while moonlighting in local bands, including the gospel group called Higher Purpose and the bluegrass band Special Edition.
In 1986, Diffie landed a job at Gibson Guitar and began recording demos for artists such as Alabama and Ricky Van Shelton. In 1989, he signed a recording deal of his own with Epic Nashville after Holly Dunn’s recording of “There Goes My Heart Again” which Diffie co-wrote became a hit.
He would go on to release seven studio albums, as well as a greatest hits and a holiday album via Epic, including 1993’s Honky Tonk Attitude and 1994’s Third Rock from the Sun, which were both certified platinum.
Diffie left Epic in 2000 after he was transferred to Monument in a label shuffle and continued to record through the next two decades but failed to recapture his previous chart success.
He continued to actively tour as well, postponing a show on March 23rd due to the COVID-19 pandemic.