Country music band leader Charlie Daniels, singer on the Grammy-winning hit The Devil Went Down to Georgia, has died at age 83 in a hospital in Tennessee.

Daniels, a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry, died on Monday from a stroke, according to a statement from his publicist Don Murry Grubbs.

A fiddler, guitarist, singer and songwriter, Daniels founded The Charlie Daniels Band in 1972 and maintained a busy tour schedule for decades with more than 100 dates each year.

The band’s hits included Uneasy Rider, Long Haired Country Boy and In America.

“I love what I do,” Daniels said in a bio posted on the band’s website.

“I look forward to entertaining people. When show time gets here, I’m ready to go, ready to go play for them. It’s a labour of love.”

The 1979 song The Devil Went Down to Georgia, which featured Daniels on vocals and fiddle, has been called one of the best country songs of all time.

Advertisement
Advertisement

The song is the story of a young man who challenges the devil to a fiddle-playing contest, and it won a Grammy for best country vocal by a group.

Daniels began his career playing in a bluegrass band before moving to Nashville to work as a session musician for artists including Bob Dylan.

In 1980 Daniels played himself in the movie Urban Cowboy starring John Travolta.

“An outspoken patriot, beloved mentor, and a true road warrior, Daniels parlayed his passion for music into a multi-platinum career and a platform to support the military, underprivileged children, and others in need,” a statement on the band’s website said.

AAP