Justin Townes Earle died from “probable drug overdose” say police

Justin Townes Earle
Justin Townes Earle (Image credit: Matt Winkelmeyer - Getty)

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.”

Scott looks after and updates Louder’s online buyer’s guides and also scouts out the best deals for music fans from every corner of the internet. He's spent more than 28 years in newspapers and magazines as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. Scott joined our news desk in the summer of 2014, where he wrote extensively about rock, metal, prog and more, before moving to the eCommerce team full-time in 2020. Scott has previous written for publications including IGN, Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to video games, travel and whisky.