His passing was confirmed Sunday night (Aug. 23) by a statement released on his official Facebook page.
“It is with tremendous sadness that we inform you of the passing of our son, husband, father and friend Justin,” the statement reads. “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.”
The cause of death has not been revealed. Earle is survived by his wife and daughter.
Born in Nashville, Earle was named after songwriter Townes Van Zandt. “My mother hated Townes Van Zandt,” he said in an interview last year. “My first name was supposed to be Townes, but my mother would not have it. She hated him because of the trouble Dad and him got into, but she still played his music.”
He released his first EP, Yuma, in 2007, and went on to deliver eight full-length LPs throughout his career.
His last album, The Saint of Lost Causes, was released in 2019.
Earle addressed his connection to his musician father in another interview that same year, saying, “There are a lot of sons and daughters out there who want nothing to do with their parents. Get over that shit. You think you’d be doing what you’re doing with no influence from your mother or father? But, even though it was tough, nobody will ever say that I rode my daddy’s coattails. My daddy can’t write like me, he can’t play guitar like me. I can’t write like him, and I don’t want to play guitar like him. I think we’ve done five shows together in 13 years since I started making records. We separated it hard from the beginning, because he wanted me to stand on my own.”
The music community on Sunday night mourned the death of Earle and shared memories of him.
“sending love and condolences to Steve Earle and the entire family of Justin Townes Earle… he was always kind to me and he’s gone too soon,” Margo Price wrote.
“RIP Justin Townes Earle,” said The Head & The Heart. “We had the pleasure of playing a few shows together. He was such an immense songwriter and authentic soul. This year is a thief.”
“What a loss,” author Stephen King wrote.