Justin Townes Earle, the singer-songwriter who struggled with addiction for most of his life, died earlier this year of a drug overdose.
The medical examiner ruled the overdose as accidental.
The Earle family released the information Tuesday, posting it on Earle’s Facebook page.
An autopsy showed that Earle, who was 38, died of a toxic combination of alcohol, cocaine and fentanyl.
Police discovered Earle’s body in his apartment, Aug. 23. A friend had called police to do a welfare check. A preliminary investigation initially concluded Earle died of an overdose.
The statement issued by the Earle family indicated that fentanyl led to Earle’s death. The statement described Earle as “outspoken and concerned about the opioid epidemic.”
“He became the victim of a deadly dose of fentanyl,” the statement said. “Illicit drugs laced with fentanyl are causing an enormous rise in overdoses, turning cocaine usage into an even deadlier habit.”
Justin Townes Earle was the son of Steve Earle. The older Earle also struggled with addiction. Steve Earle named his son for Townes Van Zandt, the talented songwriter. Van Zandt died young, suffering from health problems caused by his own drug usage.
The younger Earle dropped out of high school to go into the music business. He played with his father’s bands, including the Dukes. Justin Earle also was part of Nashville-based bands the Swindlers and Distributors.
Justin Townes Earle Said He Struggled With Addiction Since He Was 12
Back in 2012, Earle told Rolling Stone that his problems started when he was 12, after his parents separated.
He also said he believed drugs helped him perform and write music.
“I believed the myth for a long time, ” Earle told Rolling Stone. “And I believed I had to destroy myself to make great art.”
Family Plans To Honor Justin With Music
Earle is survived his his wife and young daughter, Etta.
To honor his life, Steve Earle is releasing “J.T.” on Jan. 4. It’s an album of his son’s best work. The release coincides with the younger Earle’s birthday.
All album proceeds go to a trust set up for his daughter.
The Earle family also said in the statement:
“If you or a loved one are struggling with substance addiction please know that you’re not alone. Reach out for help. Don’t lose hope.”