Nashville Police: Justin Townes Earle Likely Died of Drug Overdose
Singer-songwriter Justin Townes Earle likely died of a drug overdose, Nashville police say. The Metro Nashville Police Department has released further details about the artist's recent death at the age of 38.
Nashville's Tennessean newspaper reports that police responded to Earle's apartment on Acklen Park Drive, on the western side of the city, on Sunday (Aug. 23) after a friend, who had not heard from Earle since Thursday (Aug. 20) requested a welfare check. According to MNPD spokesperson Don Aaron, there were no signs of foul play or struggle; a preliminary investigation reports that Earle's likely cause of death was a drug overdose.
Like his father, Earle struggled with both drugs and alcohol throughout his life. After he first got sober, he relapsed twice; in recent years, however, he was keeping sober with the help of marijuana, he told fellow musician Chris Shiflett on Shiflett's podcast in 2017.
Earle, the son of fellow musician Steve Earle and his now-ex-wife Carol Anne Hunter, dropped out of school as a teenager to play music, including with his dad's touring band, the Dukes, and the Nashville bands the Swindlers and the Distributors. His first project, the Yuma EP, arrived in 2007; his most recent, The Saint of Lost Causes, was released in 2019.
Earle married his wife, Jenn Marie, in 2013. In June of 2017, the couple welcomed their daughter, Etta St. James.
The Tennessean reports that a public memorial service for Earle is being planned for 2021.
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