Singer Justin Townes Earle Cause of Death Revealed as 'Probable Drug Overdose,' According to Police


Justin Townes Earle's probable cause of death has been revealed.

Metro Nashville Police Department revealed Tuesday that the 38-year-old son of singer Steve Earle died of a "probable drug overdose," according to multiple reports.

Officers initially responded on a welfare check at his Acklen Park Drive apartment on Sunday following a friend's call to police after not seeing or hearing from him since Thursday. It is unclear when he died.

The Tennessean reports that Nashville Fire Department forced their way into the apartment, where Earle was found dead. An autopsy is still pending, but there were no signs of foul play, officers said.

PEOPLE has reached out to Metro Nashville PD and Nashville FD for comment.

Earle's family confirmed his death on Aug. 23 in a statement posted to his Facebook and Instagram.

"It is with tremendous sadness that we inform you of the passing of our son, husband, father and friend Justin," Earle's family wrote. "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 ended with lyrics from his song "Looking for a Place to Land": "I've crossed oceans/Fought freezing rain and blowing sand/I've crossed lines and roads and wondering rivers/Just looking for a place to land."

Earle's record label, New West Records, updated their website Sunday with a statement about his passing.

"Justin was uniquely talented and we are all devastated with this terrible loss," the statement read in part. "Our hearts are with his family and loved ones at this time."

The singer had previously spoken about his battle with drugs and alcohol.

He survived five heroin overdoses by the time he was 21, according to the Charleston City Paper. He told the Wall Street Journal that he started using hard drugs at age 12. He was also fired from his father's band The Dukes due to his drug abuse.

"At the time, I'd been a junkie for a good portion of my life," he told the Charleston City Paper in 2010. "It's kind of one of those things you just grow to expect when you have that lifestyle. You get fired. You lose things. You go to jail. You just kind of get used to it. It happens, even if it is family."

Earle, who was born and raised in Nashville, dropped his first EP Yuma in 2007 and followed it up with several albums, including his latest The Saint Of Lost Causes.

"When I started making records, I was sober," he told Rolling Stone in 2017, adding that he was using marijuana to remain sober today. "I got all my craziness out of the way as a coffeehouse musician and a roadie."

Earle is survived by his wife Jenn Marie and daughter Etta St. James, who was born in July 2017. A public memorial is planned for 2021, according to the Tennessean.

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