Charlie Daniels, the country/gospel singer and southern rocker who was best known for 1979 hit The Devil Went Down to Georgia and who also was an outspoken Christian, died Monday from a stroke. He was 83.
Daniels and his Charlie Daniels Band played a style of music that attracted fans of country, rock, bluegrass and gospel. He was a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Musicians Hall of Fame and the Grand Ole Opry.
Daniels won Dove Awards, Country Music Association Awards and Grammys.
He died at Summit Medical Center in Hermitage, Tenn.
Daniels spoke about his faith at concerts often, even if it wasn’t a predominantly Christian audience.
He discussed his faith during a 2017 appearance on The 700 Club.
“I believe that Jesus Christ was the only begotten Son of God, that He came to Earth, that He was nailed to a cross for my sins, that He left here. He ascended [and] He's gonna descend one of these days. He's gonna come back and pick us up,” he told The 700 Club.
His 2014 book, Never Look at the Empty Seats: A Memoir, was published by Thomas Nelson, a Christian publisher. It includes a section on Daniels’ Christian beliefs. It also includes an invitation for the reader to accept Christ.
“You have to believe that Jesus is the Son of almighty God,” he wrote. “... [I]t’s a ‘come as you are’ proposition. You can’t wait to clean your life up by yourself before you present yourself to God because you’ll never get it done. It’s impossible.”
In 2014, he and musician/manager David Corlew co-founded The Journey Home Project, a non-profit organization to help U.S. military veterans. A 2015 concert raised more than $300,000 for it.
Daniels also was a frequent commenter on Twitter. One day before his death, he tweeted a verse from Romans.
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation,will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans-8,” he wrote.
Daniels’ friends paid tribute to him on Twitter.
“One of my favorite people on this earth Charlie Daniels has gone on to his eternal reward today. Oh, how he will be missed at the Grand Ole Opry and everywhere else he was loved,” Ricky Skaggs tweeted.
One of my favorite people on this earth Charlie Daniels has gone on to his eternal reward today. Oh, how he will be missed at the Grand Ole Opry and everywhere else he was loved. - Ricky Skaggs— Ricky Skaggs (@RickySkaggs) July 6, 2020
Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum pic.twitter.com/77pxXx01d4
“I grew up on the CDB, and I know I'm blessed to call Charlie and Hazel friends. Love and strength to this family. The world mourns with you. RIP Charlie. Xoxo,” Trisha Yearwood tweeted.
I grew up on the CDB, and I know I'm blessed to call Charlie and Hazel friends. Love and strength to this family. The world mourns with you. RIP Charlie. xoxo #charliedaniels pic.twitter.com/cEz8BgTcrd— Trisha Yearwood (@trishayearwood) July 6, 2020
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Rick Diamond/Staff
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.