The country music legend passes away aged 71...

Johnny Cash has died.

The star passed away early today (September 12) of complications from diabetes at the Baptist Hospital in Nashville.

As previously reported on NME.COM, the country legend was hospitalised for two weeks with an unspecified stomach condition, but released on Tuesday (September 9).

Johnny Cash, 71, was due to appear at the VMA Awards in New York last month, but instead – according to manager Lou Robin – he watched the ceremony from his bed in the Nashville Baptist Hospital.

Johnny Cash has been admitted several times over recent years due to autonomic neuropathy, a disease that makes him particularly vulnerable to pneumonia.

In a hugely prolific career spanning six decades, Cash recorded 1,500 songs, including the hits ‘A Boy Named Sue’, ’A Thing Called Love’ and ‘Ring of Fire’.

Remaining a critic and fan favourite right up to his death, Johnny Cash’s last album was a covers record ‘American Recordings IV: The Man Comes Around’, which was produced by Rick Rubin and featured versions of Nine Inch Nails’ ’Hurt’, The Beatles’ ’In My Life’ and Johnny Cash’s ’Personal Jesus’.

Musicians in America are now waking up to the news, and others have already paid tribute. One of the first was his friend Nick Cave. He said: “He had such a wealth of experience in his voice, heaven and hell and no one could touch him. He was the real thing.”

Fellow musician Elvis Costello added: “I am saddened and very sorry for all Johnny’s family. He was a great, great man. He made me feel very welcome in his home ad I will never forget that.”

Rolling Stones singer Mick Jagger said he was “a great loss to the music community” and recalled that Johnny Cash‘s songs once made up “a big part of our repertoire”.

“I was really saddened to hear of [a][/a]’s death,” he said. “His influence spread over many generations of different people. I loved him as singer and a writer.”

U2 frontman Bono added: “He was more than wise. In a garden full of weeds – the oak tree.”

The singer was also in mourning for his wife June Carter Cash, who died aged 73 following complications from heart surgery earlier this year.

He was planning on travelling to California next week where he was to continue recording songs for the latest in the series of ‘American Recordings’ albums.