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David Olney, Nashville Singer-Songwriter, Dies Onstage at Florida Music Festival

Screengrab via YouTube

Legendary folk singer-songwriter and Americana pioneer David Olney passed away from an apparent heart attack while on stage at the 30A Songwriters Festival in Florida on Saturday (Jan. 18). He was 71.

On Facebook, Scott Miller, a songwriter and performer at the 30A Festival, said Olney died peacefully.

"David was playing a song when he paused, said 'I'm sorry' and put his chin to his chest," Miller wrote. "He never dropped his guitar or fell of his stool. It was as easy and gentle as he was."

Another singer-songwriter, Amy Rigby, called Olney a "beautiful man, a legend, a songwriting poet."

"Olney was in the middle of his third song when he stopped, apologized and shut his eyes," Rigby wrote. "He was very still, sitting upright with his guitar on, wearing the coolest hat and a beautiful rust suede jacket we laughed about because it was raining like hell outside the boathouse where we were playing- I just want the picture to be as graceful and dignified as it was, because it at first looked like he was just taking a moment."

Rigby wrote that doctors in the audience attempted to revive Olney, but Olney was unresponsive.

Olney's songs have been recorded by Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris, Steve Young and more.

The Nashville Scene called Olney a "founding father of Americana." The Rhode Island native moved to Nashville in 1973 and recorded over 20 albums, including Deeper Well and 2018's This Side or the Other.

Olney also recorded a regular YouTube series titled You Never Know. 

According to Olney's website, Olney is survived by wife, Regine, daughter, Lillian, and son, Redding.

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David Olney, Nashville Singer-Songwriter, Dies Onstage at Florida Music Festival