Justin Townes Earle, Son Of Steve Earle, Dead At 38

Justin Townes Earle/Instagram

Justin Townes Earle, the first-born son of country and folk singer-songwriter Steve Earle, has died at the age of 38.

The heartbreaking news was posted to Justin Townes Earle’s social media pages Sunday, saying: “It is with tremendous sadness that we inform you of the passing of our son, husband, father and friend Justin. 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.”


Justin, also a singer and songwriter, was born in Nashville to his famous father’s third wife, Carol Ann Hunter. Named after his father’s mentor and idol Townes Van Zandt, Justin dropped out of school and left home when he was a teen to pursue a music career. He began using drugs at age 12 and was very open about his battle with addiction.

“I was never one of those people that was confused, ‘oh I can quit in a day’ – I knew I couldn’t quit any day,” he told The Scotsman in 2015. “I always knew there was something different about the way that I used drugs and drank to the way that my friends did, but it’s a wild thing to wake up when you’re 16 years old and realize you can’t stop shooting up.”

After surviving five heroin overdoses by the age of 21, Earle spent most of the next decade in and out of rehab. In 2013 Justin married Jenn Marie Earle and in 2017 the couple welcomed daughter Etta St. James.

Earle’s cause of death has not been released.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Justin Townes Earle’s loved ones during this time.