Johnny Cash Dies at 71


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Country Music Legend Johnny Cash Dies at 71
2 minutes ago

By Pat Harris

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Reuters) - Johnny Cash (news), country music's "Man in Black," died on Friday, silencing a dark and brooding voice that for nearly 50 years sang plaintive tales of coal miners and sharecroppers, convicts and cowboys. He was 71.

"Johnny died due to complications from diabetes, which resulted in respiratory failure," manager Lou Robin said in a statement.

His death, at Baptist Hospital in Nashville, cast a late summer pall over Tennessee's Music City where he was easily the industry's most iconic performer.

It came four months after the death of his wife June Carter Cash (news), a member of one of the country's most famous music families. She succumbed to complications from heart surgery at the age of 73.

He had been in and out of the hospital constantly in the last few years, and recently had been treated and discharged from the same facility where he died.

Known as the "Man in Black" because he always wore black clothing typically topped with a long country preacher's coat, Cash was credited with being the inspiration for a generation of Nashville talent.

Over a career spanning some five decades, Cash compiled 10 Grammy Awards, including 2003's Best Male Country Vocal Performance for his song "Give My Love to Rose." He won his first Grammy in 1967 but continued to reap honors even at the twilight of his career.

He won the award for Best Cinematography in a Video at last month's MTV Video Music Awards for his video "Hurt." He had not been able to attend the MTV awards because he was in the hospital in Nashville with a stomach ailment.

He was also among the nominees for honors at the upcoming Country Music Association show in Nashville.

He was a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as well as the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

In recent years, Cash had also suffered from Shy-Drager, an illness similar to Parkinson's disease (news - web sites) that attacks the nervous system and affects muscle control.

Cash, a reformed drug and alcohol rabble rouser, said he loved the stark and spare sound of his early recordings made at Sun Records, the seminal Memphis studio, without overdubs or afterthought.

"That music has got a simple beat people can relate to, and a haunting quality that tries to go right to the gut and to the heart, and sometimes it does," he once said.

"I don't know where it comes from. I just like that mysterious sound. A song has to be something I can feel. And 'feel' covers a lot of space with me, meaning spirituality, gut feeling and heart feeling."

Ed Benson, head of the Country Music Association, said that Cash would be sorely missed. "He was not only a giant in the music business but a cultural icon ... something very few people can say," he said.

The Cash family will announce funeral arrangements, the statement from his manager said.


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Quite Involved in Discussions
I remember my mom and dad listening to him on the radio and when they bought our first record player, Johnny was the first record we bought. Also another sad news was John Ritters death.

Jimmy Olson

He will be missed. His impact on Country music, and music in general was incredible.


I was never a fan, but his version of "Hurt" was quite moving. (Any everyone could actually understand the lyrics, not just the metal heads).

With modern musicians, players, etc. being loved because they were accused of rape, murder, or any number of crimes, who will our kids and grandkids miss when they die. (Geez I sound old, and I'm only 30 w/o kids...)
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