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“If anybody asks where did I go / Tell ’em I went where the wild goose goes / Won't even have me an area code / Don't need a number, don't need a road.”
——from Cash's song "I'm Leavin' Now"
A BLACK DAY FOR COUNTRY
AND ROCK ’N’ ROLL
Johnny Cash, One of Music’s Most Enduring and Beloved Figures, Dies Overnight
Johnny Cash, a titan of country music and one of the originators of rock ’n’ roll, died early Friday morning in Nashville, just four months after the death of his wife, writer/singer June Carter Cash. He was 71.

Cash, who’d been battling the Parkinsons-like Shy-Drager disease, had become quite frail in his later years. But he did summon up the strength in 2002 to record American IV:

The Man Comes Around, the fourth in a series of milestone albums with producer Rick Rubin, who clearly delighted in feeding seemingly unlikely contemporary songs to the craggy-voiced singer, only to have Cash turn the material into his own.

Lou Robin, Cash’s manager, gave this brief statement to the press: "Johnny died due to complications from diabetes, which resulted in respiratory failure. I hope that friends and fans of Johnny will pray for the Cash family to find comfort during this very difficult time

During his career, which spanned nearly a half century, the Man in Black picked up a total of 11 Grammys, most recently winning Best Male Country Vocal Performance for “Give My Love to Rose.” He was one of the few artists to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

The video for Cash’s “Hurt,” the inspired cover of a Nine Inch Nails song, won the moonman for Best Cinematography at last month's MTV Video Music Awards, but Cash, who had planned to attend, was in a Nashville hospital at the time with stomach problems.

Cash was born Feb. 26, 1932, in Kingsland, AR., one of seven children. He launched his career in the mid-’50s, signing with seminal Memphis-based label Sun Records, which also launched the careers of Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison and Jerry Lee Lewis. He struggled with an addiction to pills throughout his life, crediting June Carter Cash with getting, and eventually keeping, him clean.

Among Cash’s best-known hits are “Ring of Fire,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” “I Walk the Line,'' “A Boy Named Sue” and “Jackson” (a duet with his wife). He had 14 #1s on the country charts over the years.

On the third album in the American series, 2000’s American III: Solitary Man, Cash supplied what can now be seen as his own epitaph with the song “I’m Leavin’ Now,” a duet with his old friend and fellow legend Merle Haggard: “If anybody asks where did I go / Tell ’em I went where the wild goose goes / Won't even have me an area code / Don't need a number, don't need a road.”

This bittersweet tour de force was followed by the elegiac spiritual, "Wayfaring Stranger," which closed the album. “There is no sickness, toil, nor danger,” Cash sang, “in that bright land to which I go."

Funeral arrangements will be announced by the Cash family, which includes his daughters Rosanne Cash and Carlene Carter.

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