Justin Townes Earle’s team have confirmed the cause of the singer-songwriter’s untimely death in August.
Shortly after Earle’s passing in Nashville on August 23, police told the media that they believed he had died of a drug overdose. Yesterday, Earle’s team posted a statement to his official social media pages to announce that “the medical examiner has concluded that the cause of his death was an accidental drug overdose” from fentanyl-laced cocaine. Alcohol was also listed on the autopsy report.
“Even though Justin was very outspoken and concerned about the opioid epidemic and the dangers of the ‘legal’ drugs fed by the pharmaceutical companies, he became the victim of a deadly dose of fentanyl,” they wrote.
“Illicit drugs laced with fentanyl are causing an enormous rise in overdoses, turning cocaine usage into an even deadlier habit. It only takes a few salt sized granules of fentanyl to cause an overdose. And in most cases, happens so fast that intervention likely could not reverse it.
“Although legal, and available nearly everywhere, alcohol is a psychoactive, neurotoxic addictive narcotic. The effects of continual, long term alcohol intake is deadly. Addiction is a disease and there are many avenues and treatments to become and stay free from alcohol and drug usage.”
Earle’s team concluded by urging readers or those with loved ones struggling with substance addiction to know that they are not alone, and to seek help. “Don’t lose hope,” they wrote.
Justin Townes Earle was the son of country star Steve Earle, who will be commemorating his son’s life and art by recording ten covers of his son’s music, collected in the album JT. The album will be released January 4—what would have been Justin’s 39th birthday—and proceeds from its sale will be channeled into a trust fund for Justin’s daughter Etta St James Earle.
Hear the first song released from the record, “Harlem River Blues,” and read the full statement from Justin Townes Earle’s team below.