"The world knew Charlie Daniels as a wizard with a fiery fiddle," NRA Executive Vice President & CEO Wayne LaPierre said. "A legendary musician. A true American icon. But, to his NRA family, Charlie was all that and a lot more. We knew and loved Charlie as an outspoken patriot whose passion for freedom was unparalleled. Charlie didn’t just preach about values—he lived them every day. A proud NRA Life Member and lifelong Second Amendment supporter who performed at countless NRA events, and courageously spoke out for freedom every chance he got. The world lost one of its brightest stars. Our country grieves for a true patriot. Our NRA family mourns the loss of a brother. Rest in Peace, Charlie."
Born in Wilmington, N.C., Daniels was exposed to gospel, bluegress and country music from a young age. By the time he graduated high school in 1955, he was already a skilled player on the guitar, fiddle, banjo and mandolin and had formed a rock 'n' roll band.
By the 1970s, Daniels had recorded his first solo album and recorded his first hit, "Uneasy Rider," in 1973. The song, from his album, "Honey in the Rock," reached No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100. By 1975, he had two more hits, "The South's Gonna Do It Again," and "Long Haired Country Boy."
One of Daniels' most memorable songs, "The Devil Went Down to Georgia," emerged in 1979 and reached No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in September of that year. He also won the Grammy Award for Best Country Vocal Performance for the hit.
Daniels has long been a vocal supporter of the Second Amendment and a member of the National Rifle Association. He has headlined at the NRA Country concerts for years during the NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits, and he recently sat down with America's 1st Freedom to discuss his passion for firearms:
"I have a lot of favorites," he told NRA Country's Vanessa Shahidi. "My favorite concealed carry [gun] is a .357 revolver. I love the dependability of a wheelgun. I do quite a bit of target shooting and have five Browning Buckmark .22 pistols and 20 10-round magazines and an old Remington pump .22. Sometimes, I'll fire several hundred rounds a day."
Recently, he appeared in a series of ads for NRA, including one that aired in April 2020 at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"...I'd fight to my last breath to defend my home and my family," he said. "And by the looks of the lines at the gun stores lately, it looks like an awful lot of other people feel the same way—that they want to defend themselves—which is the constitutional right we're guaranteed in the Second Amendment."
Daniels is survived by his wife, Hazel, and son, Charlie Daniels Jr.