Justin Townes Earle Was in Hospital w/ Pneumonia Prior to Death

The death of singer, songwriter, and second generation performer Justin Townes Earle at the age of 38 came as a shock to many when it was announced on August 23rd via his official social media channels.

“It is with tremendous sadness that we inform you of the passing of our son, husband, father and friend Justin,” the message read. “So many of you have relied on his music and lyrics over the years and we hope that his music will continue to guide you on your journeys. You will be missed dearly Justin.”

Fans concerned of what happened to the Nashville native received a partial answer when the 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.

Though the death is currently labeled “unclassified” pending findings from the Medical Examiner’s Office in Nashville, 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.

Autopsy and toxicology reports can regularly take six weeks or longer to conclude due to the process undertaken to determine levels of toxicity in the blood when an individual passed away. At this point, it is unknown what specific day Justin Townes Earle died, though this could be determined through the autopsy process. August 20th was the last day anyone had made contact with Earle.

However Saving Country Music has been able to confirm from numerous sources that in the weeks leading up to Justin Townes Earle’s death, he had been suffering from a severe case of pneumonia, and had been hospitalized due to the illness, and required surgery on his lung. At the time of his death, Earle was still recovering from the condition, and was “very weak.”

Though it won’t be determined conclusively how Justin Townes Earle died until the final report from the Medical Examiners Office is issued—and drugs could still have played a role either partially or fully in his unexpected passing—Earle’s overall health and continued issues stemming from his bout with pneumonia could have also played a factor.

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. More information on Justin Townes Earle’s death if or when it becomes available.

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