Daniels Center unveiling
MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, left, first lady Elizabeth McPhee, Hazel Daniels, Charlie Daniels and Keith M. Huber, senior adviser for veterans and leadership initiatives, display the new Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center logo unveiled in an Aug. 23 celebration. The event recognized the couple and The Journey Home Project for gifts totaling $120,000 for the center. Daniels autographed the patriotic fiddle McPhee is holding and presented it to the center as a gift from him and the foundation. (MTSU file photo by Andy Heidt)

The music community, country music fans, and Middle Tennessee State University is mourning the death of Charlie Daniels.

Daniels died on Monday, July 6th at Summit Medical Center in Hermitage, Tennessee. Doctors determined the cause of death was a hemorrhagic stroke, stated a release. Daniels was 83.

Charlie Daniels’ Legacy

Charlie Daniels was a singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist known for his contributions to Southern rock and bluegrass in addition to country. From his Dove Award-winning gospel albums to his genre-defining southern rock anthems and his CMA Award-winning country hits, few artists have left a more indelible mark on America’s musical landscape than Charlie Daniels. He was known as an outspoken patriot, beloved mentor, and a true road warrior. Daniels also supported the military, underprivileged children, and others in need. The Charlie Daniels Band has long populated radio with memorable hits such as the signature song, “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.”

Advocate for Military Veterans

The Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center is home to 1,000-plus veterans and military family members. MTSU renamed the center in 2016 to honor Daniels, who had a lifetime of supporting veterans and military members, and his wife, Hazel. They also were a part of the center’s November 2015 grand opening.

“Middle Tennessee State University today grieves the passing of Charlie Daniels, a dear friend and great patriot, whose devotion to the men and women in our Armed Forces helped create and sustain the Veterans and Military Family Center on our campus that bears his name,” said MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, a longtime friend. “The entire university community joins us in extending our deepest sympathy to Hazel and his family.”

“My wife, Elizabeth, and I have lost a dear friend, with great heart and whose laugh that filled a room,” McPhee added. “We will miss our dinners together, his visits to campus, hearing him sing and his tireless advocacy and hard work on behalf of our student veterans.”

“Charlie’s love of life and country was radiant and inspiring,” McPhee said. “And we at MTSU shall work every day to sustain and extend his legacy through the good works of the Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center. Charlie will live on, not only through his music, but also through the lives lifted through his generosity.”

The Daniels Center is the largest and most comprehensive veterans center on any Tennessee campus. Daniels described the honor of his name upon MTSU’s veterans center as greater than his selection in the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Keith M. Huber, MTSU senior adviser for veterans and leadership initiatives, said it “has been my privilege over the last five years to work closely with Charlie Daniels and his nonprofit organization, The Journey Home Project, in support of our veterans as they transitioned out of uniform.”

“Charlie’s support will forever continue and live at MTSU as veterans and their precious military families nationwide seek the transition assistance of the center,” said Huber, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant general. “Our prayers are sent to surround the family and friends of our beloved Charlie Daniels, my true friend.”

Funeral Arrangements

The Country Music Hall of Fame and Grand Ole Opry member will be memorialized at a public service this Friday, July 10 at 11:00 a.m. / CT at World Outreach Church, located at 1921 State Hwy 99 in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

Travis Tritt, Vince Gill, Gretchen Wilson and Trace Adkins will perform to honor the life of Daniels. The service will be led by SiriusXM’s Storme Warren and pastor Allen Jackson.
A public visitation is also scheduled for Thursday, July 9 from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. / CT at Sellars Funeral Home in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee (2229 North Mt. Juliet Road).

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be addressed to The Journey Home Project. Donations can be made online (thejourneyhomeproject.org) or by mail (17060 Central Pike, Lebanon, TN 37090). Floral arrangements may be sent to Sellars Funeral Home.

After the news of Charlie Daniels’ death, country artists shared their thoughts and memories.

“I’m sad for the world and for his family…but I’m smiling a little because the angel band in Heaven just got themselves one heck of a fiddle player…see you again, one day, sweet Charlie Daniels”- Carrie Underwood

“I’m so sad he’s gone. But I know he had no doubt about where he was going when this life was over. We have so many memories together, and I am so blessed to have known him.He beat the devil with his fiddle, and I’m sure he’s opening up his case and resining up his bow now to play for the Lord. Rest In Peace my friend. We love you.” – Brad Paisley 

Read more statements from artists here.


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