Country artists that died during 2020


Photo Credit: photovia: Haley O'Neill

Country artists, Joe Diffie, Kenny Rogers, Johnny Bush, Charlie Pride, and K.T Oslin all died in the year of 2020. They will forever be remembered.

With COVID-19 going on throughout the year 2020, we all thought that it couldn’t get any worse. Then came along the postponing of concerts along with the temporary closing of many stores/restaurants/venues. Many people used music as an outlet for the stress . However, the loss of many artists this year added more sadness into the lives of many. Country artists such as Joe Diffie, Kenny Rogers, Charley Pride, Johnny Bush, and K.T. Oslin all died in 2020.

Joe Diffie

Joe Logan Diffie was born on December 28, 1958, in Tulsa Oklahoma. Coming from a musical family, it was in his blood to become a musician. At the age of four, he became involved in performing and singing. After writing a song with Hank Thompson (a well-known American Country artist) his career took off. Joe Diffie wrote many songs with Randy Travis and many more artists which motivated him to move to Nashville Tennessee in 1986. Diffie continued his music career and became a very well known Country artist throughout the ’90s. Joe Diffie had over twenty singles on Billboard Hot Country Songs, many of which had ranked number one. He died on March 29, 2020, in Nashville Tennessee. Joe Diffie died due to complications related to COVID. Diffie was married to Tara Terpening and had five children.

Kenny Rogers

Kenny Rogers, aka Kenneth Donald Rogers, was born on August 21, 1938. Born in Houston Texas, he had six siblings, all of which referred to him as Kenneth Ray. His liking for music started at a young age which then progressed into hope in a career as a musician. Rogers joined many groups and gained much experience from the joining of those bands.  As time went on, he became well known and created many songs with a variety of artists such as Dottie West (American Country artist). In 1988 he won a Grammy Award for Best Country Vocal Performance Duet for the song he created with Ronnie Milsap (American Country artist and Pianist). On March 20, 2020, Kenny Rogers passed away due to natural causes. Rogers was married to Wanda Miller and had five children.

Johnny Bush

Born in Houston Texas on February 17, 1935,  John Bush Shinn III was an American Country music singer and songwriter. Also known as Johnny Bush, he created over fifteen albums. In 1972, Bush received a Top 20 hit with the song, “I’ll be There.” Later on in his career, he started losing vocal range. It wasn’t until 1978 in which doctors found that he had a rare neurological disorder called, Spasmodic Dysphonia (a disorder in which causes the muscles in a person’s voice spaz). Knowing about the disorder, it did not stop Bush from producing music. He then worked with a voice builder and continued his music career. Johnny Bush died at the age of 85 on October 16, 2020.

Charley Pride

Not only an American Country artist but also a professional baseball player, Charley Pride was born on March 18, 1934. Being the fourth of eleven children, he and his family grew up in Mississipi. At 16, he landed a spot in the Negro League’s Memphis Red Sox. His baseball career got him interested in country music.  Pride’s first singles were released in 1966.  He produced over fifty albums and received many awards for them. After years of success, Charley Pride died on December 12, 2020 due to COVID-19, he died at the age of 86 and will be missed by many.

K.T Oslin

American Country artist K.T Oslin was born on May 15, 1942. Also known as Kay Toinette Oslin, she was born in Crossett Arkansas. Oslin was known well for her hit single, “80’s Ladies.”  She broke many records and became the first female country artist to win the “Country Music Association Song of the Year” award. Oslin was also seen in multiple movies and commercials. Some movies include, “The Thing Called Love,” and “Poisoned by Love: The Kern County Murders.” At the age of 78, K.T Oslin died on December 21, 2020. Oslin died due to Parkinson’s diseases and complications related to COVID-19.


The year 2020 was a year that many people will never forget. From wildfires, to an outbreak of a very aggressive virus, deaths of family members and celebrities; it truly was a memorable year, in a negative way. Along with the five country artists above, there were many other artists/celebrities who unfortunately passed away. These celebrities will forever be missed, however they will always still be with us. Through their music, Joe Diffie, Kenny Rogers, Johnny Bush, Charley Pride, and K.T Oslin will forever be remembered.