Charlie Daniels, a legend of country music and one of the most widely known fiddlers in the world - especially due to his classic "The Devil Went Down to Georgia," passed away this morning (7/6) from a hemorrhagic stroke he suffered over the weekend. He was 83.
Daniels was born in North Carolina but made Tennessee his home quickly, launching his music career and spearheading the Charlie Daniels Band. They continued to tour until very recently. Daniels also played with a wide variety of artists across music genres, including the likes of Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen and Ringo Starr.
As leader of the Charlie Daniels Band, he and the instrument he's most closely associated with -- the fiddle -- launched a whole new angle to Southern rock, from the hit everyone knows - "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" - to hits not as many people remember but are still fun to listen to, such as "Uneasy Rider" from 1971, a song about a long-haired hippie type who deals with the trials and tribulations of a car breakdown in a small Southern town where he doesn't feel particularly welcome.
In 2010, he was featured in a Geico ad, "playing a mean fiddle."
In 2008, he was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry, nearly 40 years into his professional career. It wasn't until 2016 that Daniels got his long-deserved spot in the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Check out that Geico commercial and his early hit "Uneasy Rider" below.
Meanwhile, the fiddling contests up in Heaven just got a LOT more competitive.
Photo credit: Getty images