Jerry Reed was a singer, guitarist, songwriter, and actor who appeared in more than a dozen films. He was known for his signature songs such as “When You’re Hot, You’re Hot”, “East Bound and Down”, and “She Got the Goldmine (I Got the Shaft)”. He was also a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum. But what was the cause of death of Jerry Reed? How did he pass away at the age of 71?
Jerry Reed’s Early Life and Career
Jerry Reed was born as Jerry Reed Hubbard on March 20, 1937, in Atlanta, Georgia. His parents divorced when he was young, and he and his sister spent most of their childhood in foster homes and orphanages. He learned to play the guitar as a child and started writing and singing songs by high school. He was signed by publisher and record producer Bill Lowery at the age of 18 and recorded his first single, “If the Good Lord’s Willing and the Creek Don’t Rise”. He also wrote songs for other artists, such as Gene Vincent, who recorded his song “Crazy Legs” in 1958.
Reed married Priscilla “Prissy” Mitchell in 1959, and they had two daughters, Seidina and Charlotte. Mitchell was also a singer and a member of the folk group The Appalachians. She also had a number one hit with Roy Drusky, “Yes, Mr. Peters”, in 1965.
Reed had his first chart success as a solo artist in 1967, with the song “Guitar Man”, which was later covered by Elvis Presley. He also collaborated with Chet Atkins, who called him “the greatest guitar player in the world”. Reed won his first Grammy Award in 1971, for Best Country Vocal Performance, Male, for the song “When You’re Hot, You’re Hot”. He also ventured into acting, appearing in films such as W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings, Gator, and Smokey and the Bandit, in which he co-starred with Burt Reynolds and sang the theme song, “East Bound and Down”.
Jerry Reed’s Health Problems and Death
Reed was a smoker for many years, which affected his health and voice. He underwent a quadruple bypass surgery in June 2004 and had a pacemaker implanted in February 2007. He also suffered from diabetes and arthritis. According to Wikipedia, Reed died in Nashville, Tennessee, on September 1, 2008, of complications from emphysema, a disease of the lungs that usually develops after many years of smoking. Emphysema causes shortness of breath, coughing, and wheezing, and can lead to heart failure and respiratory failure. Reed was buried at Woodlawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Nashville.
Reed’s death was mourned by many fans and fellow musicians, who remembered him as a talented and versatile artist, a good friend, and a funny and generous person. He was posthumously inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2017, and his songs have been covered by artists such as Brad Paisley, Blake Shelton, and Keith Urban. Reed’s legacy lives on in his music, his movies, and his influence on generations of country and rockabilly musicians. He was truly a legend in his own right.