Police: ‘Probable’ Justin Townes Earle Died of Drug Overdose

Details into the death of Justin Townes Earle are beginning to emerge as fans continue to mourn the Nashville-born singer and songwriter, and son of alt-country legend Steve Earle. Justin Townes Earle’s unexpected passing was first publicly announced Sunday evening, August 23rd, via his social media channels, though no cause of death was given at that time. He was 38-years-old.

The Metro Nashville Police Department has now confirmed they found Justin Townes Earle at his 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 found no signs of struggle or foul play, and have preliminarily determined his cause of death to be a probable drug overdose. However the death is currently unclassified pending findings from the Medical Examiner’s Office.

“Just after 5:00 p.m. Sunday, our officers and the Nashville Fire Department responded to an apartment on Acklen Park Drive on a call for a welfare check for Justin Townes Earle,” Metro Nashville Police Department spokesperson Don Aaron tells Saving Country Music. “The friend called us after no one had heard from Justin since last Thursday (8-20). The fire department arrived first, and forced entry into the apartment where he was found deceased.”

“Our officers and a responding detective found no signs of a struggle or foul play,” Don Aaron continues. “Based on their observations at the scene, their preliminary investigation indicates that the death is likely related to a drug overdose. However autopsy results including toxicology results are pending. And for now the death is ‘unclassified,’ meaning the classification of the death could be homicide, suicide, accidental, natural. No classification has been assigned at present as we await the pending information from the Medical Examiners Office.”

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.

Well-respected as a songwriter and performer, Justin Townes Earle was one of the rising stars in the Americana scene after first releasing a well-received six-song EP called Yuma in 2007, which led to him being signed to Bloodshot Records out of Chicago. His album Harlem River Blues became a breakout, and the title track became the 2011 Americana Music Association’s Song of the Year. Earle later signed with Vagrant Records, and eventually New West Record who released his final two albums.

Justin Townes Earle 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.

READ: Justin Townes Earle’s Struggle is Over

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