Country Music Hall of Famer Charlie Daniels dies at 83

Known best for the Charlie Daniels Band hit "The Devil Went Down to Georgia," Daniels spanned gospel, Southern rock, bluegrass and country.

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By Elisha Fieldstadt

Country Music Hall of Famer Charlie Daniels died Monday in Tennessee, according to a statement from his publicist. He was 83.

Daniels died of a hemorrhagic stroke at Summit Medical Center in Hermitage.

Known best for the Charlie Daniels Band hit "The Devil Went Down to Georgia," Daniels spanned genres from gospel and Southern rock to bluegrass and country.

The platinum "Devil Went Down to Georgia" earned Daniels' band a Grammy for best country vocal performance by a duo or group in 1979. The band also won the Country Music Association's instrumental group of the year award in 1979 and 1980.

Daniels was named CMA musician of the year in 1979. His religious recordings also earned him Dove Awards.

Daniels had nine gold, platinum or multiplatinum albums, according to the Country Music Hall of Fame, which inducted him in 2016. Eight years earlier, he had become a Grand Ole Opry cast member.

The polished fiddler and vocalist also played guitar, bass and banjo on recordings by Bob Dylan and Ringo Starr, and he toured with Leonard Cohen in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Daniels toured with his own band constantly, sometimes playing 250 shows a year.

Daniels had suffered a stroke while snowmobiling in Colorado in 2010, but after a quick recovery he started touring again.

Daniels' political stances ran the gamut over the course of his career and often seeped into his lyrics.

In "Uneasy Rider," he depicted himself as a country boy arguing passionately with patrons at a "redneck" bar. He supported President Jimmy Carter and performed at his inauguration in 1977.

But in his later years, Daniels espoused more conservative beliefs, even revisiting "Uneasy Rider" in the late '80s, pitting the protagonist against customers at a gay bar.

He often appeared on Fox News and recently had taken to tweeting statements like "125,000 innocent unborn babies will be murdered by abortionists around the world today" and "Benghazi ain't going away!"

Daniels also used his fame to champion and help the military, underprivileged children and others in need, according to his publicist. In 2014, he and his manager founded The Journey Home Project to help U.S. veterans.