A day after the music world learnt that John Prine is in a critical condition with the coronavirus, his family has provided an update.
Prine’s wife Fiona Whelan Prine tweeted Monday: “He is stable. Please continue to send your amazing love and prayers.”
A short-time later, she wrote a follow-up tweet: “I need to clarify what I mean by ‘John is stable.’ That is not the same as improving. There is no cure for Covid-19. He needs our prayers and love — as do the thousands of others who are critically ill. Stay at home. Wash your hands. We love you.”
The update came 24 hours after the family first broke the news on the JohnPrineMusic website:
“After a sudden onset of Covid-19 symptoms, John was hospitalized on Thursday. He was intubated Saturday evening, and continues to receive care, but his situation is critical.”
On March 20th, Fiona revealed that she had tested positive for the coronavirus, and while her husband also tested, his status remained “indeterminate” at the time.
Only last month, Prine was forced to cancel a number of engagements, including a tour to Australia in April, because of a hip condition. It was later announced that on February 20th he underwent hip-replacement surgery.
He has also received much publicity in recent years for recovering from two bouts of cancer.
In the late-Nineties, Prine was diagnosed with squamous cell cancer in his neck; after rounds of radiation, surgery and a year of rehabilitation, Prine returned to music. Then in 2013, Prine announced he had an operable cancer, “non-small cell carcinoma,” in his left lung.
He appeared to make a full recovery from these two conditions and his musical career seemed to resurge. He released a much acclaimed and Grammy-nominated album The Tree of Forgiveness in 2018 and followed this with a global promotional tour. In the midst of all this, he was awarded a 2020 Lifetime Achievement Awards at the Grammys.
Within hours of news of his latest setback, high-profile members of the music community responded with an overwhelming display of support for Prine. Among the most heart-warming was this from Bette Midler: “One of the loveliest people I was ever lucky enough to know. He is a genius and a huge soul. Pray for him.”
The coronavirus has now claimed the lives of two noted American musicians.
It was revealed Sunday that country music star Joe Diffie died as a result of complications relating to Covid-19. He had a string of No 1 country hits in the 1990s and was a member of the Grand Ole Opry for 25 years. Diffie was 61.
And also on Sunday, it was announced that rock singer-songwriter Alan Merrill had died in New York after being diagnosed with coronavirus. He was 69.
Merrill co-wrote and recorded the original version of the hit "I Love Rock 'n Roll" with his band The Arrows. The song was made famous by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, whose 1982 version shot to the top of the Billboard Hot 100.
Joan Jett posted on Twitter: "I've just learned the awful news tht Alan Merrill has passed. My thoughts and love go to his family, friends and music community as a whole. I can still remember watching The Arrows on TV in London and being blown away by the song that screamed a hit to me. With deep gratitude and sadness, wishing him a safe journey to the other side."