A preliminary investigation into the death of Justin Townes Earle has revealed that he died from a “probable drug overdose.”
The Metro Nashville Police Department confirmed the news to the Associated Press (opens in new tab), with spokesman Don Aaron saying police had responded to a welfare check on the singer/songwriter on Sunday after he hadn’t been heard of since Thursday last week.
A full autopsy report is pending.
News of Earle’s death was confirmed on the musician’s website at the weekend, with a statement reading: “It is with tremendous sadness that we inform you of the passing of our son, husband, father and friend Justin.
“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.”
Earle, the son of Steve Earle, released eight albums, with his last, The Saint Of Lost Causes, coming out in May last year.
He had a turbulent childhood and struggled with addiction from an early age, using heroin by the age of 12 with his later teenage years marked by petty crime, drinking and serial drug use.
Speaking with Classic Rock in 2014, he revealed that listening to Nirvana’s unplugged version of Lead Belly’s Where Did You Sleep Last Night was a turning point in his life and career.
He said: “Suddenly it all made sense to me. Everybody was taking things from the generation that had gone before. So I threw away my electric guitar and bought myself an acoustic one.”