Justin Townes Earle Death Ruled Accidental Overdose, Family Reveals

Singer, songwriter, and second generation performer Justin Townes Earle died of an accidental drug overdose, the Medical Examiners Office in Nashville has ruled, and the family of Justin Townes Earle revealed on Tuesday (12/1).

“Three months after we lost Justin, the medical examiner has concluded that the cause of his death was an accidental drug overdose,” the family says. “Next to alcohol and cocaine the autopsy report revealed traces of fentanyl indicating that that usage of fentanyl laced cocaine resulted in an overdose.”

Justin Townes Earle was found dead at the age of 38 on August 23rd. Metro Nashville police spokesperson Don Aaron explained on August 25th that police and fire had responded to Earle’s apartment in the West End Park neighborhood of Nashville after receiving a request for a welfare check from a friend. When police arrived at the residence, they had to force entry into the residence, and found no signs of struggle or foul play in the apartment. Police preliminarily determined Earle’s cause of death to be a “probable drug overdose,” citing the conditions in which they found Earle, though giving no specifics about how they came to that determination.

“Even though Justin was very outspoken and concerned about the opioid epidemic and the dangers of the ‘legal’ drugs fed by the pharmaceutical companies, he became the victim of a deadly dose of fentanyl,” the statement from the family continues. “Illicit drugs laced with fentanyl are causing an enormous rise in overdoses, turning cocaine usage into an even deadlier habit. It only takes a few salt sized granules of fentanyl to cause an overdose. And in most cases, happens so fast that intervention likely could not reverse it.”

The statement continues, “Although legal, and available nearly everywhere, alcohol is a psychoactive, neurotoxic addictive narcotic. The effects of continual, long term alcohol intake is deadly. Addiction is a disease and there are many avenues and treatments to become and stay free from alcohol and drug usage. If you or a loved one are struggling with substance addiction please know that you’re not alone and reach out for help. Don’t lose hope. With love and health, Team JTE.”

Justin Townes Earle was the son of alt-country pioneer Steve Earle, and was married in October of 2013 to Jenn Marie Maynard. The couple had a daughter in June of 2017 named Etta. A public memorial service is said to be in the works for 2021. Steve Earle recently announced a tribute album to Justin called J.T. set to be released on January 4th, 2021.

READ: Justin Townes Earle on What to Say to Someone Struggling with Drugs

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