Fans, friends and the news media continue to mourn Johnny Cash’s death while celebrating his contributions to music, America and mankind.
When Cash passed away Friday (Sept. 12) following a lengthy illness, newspapers and the national television networks responded with extensive coverage of his life and career. The attention will continue this week in Time magazine’s Sept. 22 issue. In addition to a black and white cover photo of Cash, the magazine will also feature a brief interview conducted in July.
In the meantime, political and religious leaders have joined musicians in praising Cash and his work:
“Johnny Cash was a music legend and American icon whose career spanned decades and genres. His resonant voice and human compassion reached the hearts and souls of generations, and he will be missed.” — President George Bush
“He had a great heart and a fine, clear mind that he constantly enriched through his reading. People will say he was a giant and he was. His music, from his first songs 50 years ago until his last ones this year, were beautiful, powerful and moving in a completely original way. But his music was great because of the depths he explored inside his soul. From a tough start in life, he made himself into a great man.” — Former Vice President Al Gore
“Johnny Cash was not only a legend but was a close personal friend. Johnny was a good man who also struggled with many challenges in life. Johnny was a deeply religious man. He and June came to a number of our crusades over a period of many years. Ruth and I took a number of personal vacations with them at their home in Jamaica and in other places. They both were like a brother and sister to [wife] Ruth and me. We loved them. We are praying that God will comfort his family and staff at this critical time. I look forward to seeing Johnny and June in heaven one day.” — Evangelist Billy Graham
“Even though Johnny Cash has passed on, his music and his influence on our music will live on forever. He was one hell of a man.” — George Strait
“This is not just a sad occasion for country music but for the entire music industry, the devoted fans and everyone who was touched by his life and his work. He paved the roads that we’re walking today and that future generations of recording artists to come will take. His life and music were, and will remain, an inspiration to us all and a presence that can never truly be lost.” — Patty Loveless
“A great, great man. … He made me feel very welcome in his home and I will never forget that.” — Elvis Costello
“We got to see a video made this year — the “Hurt” video — and the irony was, he was facing his mortality, almost like he was letting us all know that it was time to go. For me, that’s going to be one of the biggest things I remember, because it was one of the best videos I’ve ever seen and one of the most moving.” — Steve Azar
“I remember being a little kid and hearing his music, because he was my dad’s favorite artist … and hearing how stark and real his songs were, as opposed to everybody else at the time. I think Johnny’s greatest legacy is the fact that he made it OK to be human. He made it acceptable to be flawed and he stood for the underdog, the common man. … I think his entire life was about redemption.” — Jeff Bates
“Johnny Cash was an international ambassador for country music and a musical trailblazer throughout his life, possessing one of the most recognizable names, faces and voices the world has ever known. Recording music in six different decades, Cash remained one of the music industry’s most vital and important artists throughout his life as demonstrated by his recent nominations for four CMA Awards, as well as the myriad of honors and praise bestowed upon him during the last year. It is incomprehensible to imagine what country music would have been like without Johnny Cash and his music. Through the years CMA honored him with six CMA Awards (including entertainer of the year in 1969) and inducted him into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1980. We are deeply saddened by his loss but find comfort in knowing that his music and influence will live forever.” — CMA executive director Ed Benson