American singer-songwriter Justin Townes Earle has died aged 38.

Various media outlets have reported the singer's death, with the cause of death yet to be revealed.

Earle was the son of country legend Steve Earle, and was best known for his award-winning song Harlem River Blues. The song won American Music Association song of the year in 2011.

He was also a regular visitor to Aotearoa and had cultivated a large fanbase here. He last toured the country in 2019, playing three shows in New Zealand last August.


"We always enjoy New Zealand, but I'm bringing the wife down this time, so we're really looking forward to it," he told the NZ Herald back in 2014 before arriving for what was then his fifth visit in six years.

He routinely toured the country and was particularly taken by the South, immortalising it in his song ChristChurch Girl.

Talking to the Herald's entertainment magazine TimeOut in 2011shortly after the Christchurch earthquake he said he was "keeping a close eye" on what was happening and that it was "absolutely heartbreaking".

"I'm trying to figure out a way - we are going to set up some sort of website maybe and sell it for an exorbitant price and find a charity to align it with... I don't think that the establishment that was hosting us survived the quake."

A statement on Earle's official Instagram and Facebook page read: "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."

The post ends with lyrics from his song Looking For A Place To Land.

According to Pitchfork, Earle was named after Townes Van Zandt and began working as a musician when he was a teenager. He put out his first EP, Yuma, in 2007, and went on to release eight albums. His last album The Saint of Lost Causes, released in 2009, covered US social political issues.


Several have paid tribute to the musician on social media, including band The Head & The Heart, and author Stephen King.

Variety reports Earle was open about his struggle with addiction throughout his career.
A bio on his official website says he discovered "newfound sobriety".

"One day I just realised it's not cool to die young, and it's even less cool to die after 30," he wrote when he was 32 years old.