Singer David Olney dies on stage during performance at Florida Panhandle festival

Singer David Olney dies onstage during performance

Singer-songwriter David Olney died Saturday night during a performance onstage at a Florida music festival, Variety reported. He was 71.

Olney, who was playing at the 30A Songwriters Festival in Santa Rosa Beach, stopped during the middle of one of his songs and dropped his head, the website reported. According to his website, Olney died of an apparent heart attack.

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Olney, a Nashville-based musician, has had songs recorded by Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris, The Tennessean reported. He was performing next to Amy Rigby and Scott Miller on Saturday at The Boathouse at WaterColor. Rigby described what happened in a Facebook post Sunday.

“I was sitting next to him in the round, had been so honored and looking forward to getting to trade songs with him and Scott Miller,” Rigby wrote. “Olney was in the middle of his third song when he stopped, apologized and shut his eyes.”

Born in Rhode Island in 1948, Olney moved to Nashville in 1973 and later formed the rock group The X-Rays, Billboard reported. After releasing his first solo album, “Eye of the Storm,” in 1986, Olney would release more than two dozen albums, The Tennessean reported.

A performance Olney gave earlier Saturday during the festival was captured on video and posted to YouTube.

Harris covered Olney’s song, “Jerusalem Tomorrow,” in 1993, and “Deeper Well” in 1995, Variety reported. He also did a version of Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Are Made For Walkin'."

Other artists who recorded or performed Olney’s songs include Ronstadt (“Women Cross the River”), Steve Earle (“Saturday Night and Sunday Morning”), and Del McCoury (“Queen Anne’s Lace”), Rolling Stone reported.

Singer-songwriter David Olney died while performing at a Florida Festival on Jan. 18. He was 71.
Singer-songwriter David Olney died while performing at a Florida Festival on Jan. 18. He was 71. (Ebet Roberts/Redferns)