The Grammy-winning songwriter died on Tuesday, aged 73, due to Covid-19 complications, his publicist confirmed.
Prine had been in hospital in Nashville since last week with coronavirus symptoms, with his wife and manager, Fiona Whelan Prine, posting updates about his condition online.
Prine was revered by his peers including Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash.
“John and I were ‘New Dylans’ together in the early 70s and he was never anything but the lovliest guy in the world,” tweeted The Boss.
“A true national treasure and a songwriter for the ages.”
Prine signed with Atlantic Records and released his self-titled debut album in 1971, after fellow singer-songwriter, Kris Kristofferson, saw him perform in a Chicago club.
The album included songs like Angel from Montgomery, Paradise, and Sam Stone, which gave bittersweet tragic-comic snapshots of American society and fed into the anti-war movement.
After serving in the US army in Germany during the Vietnam war, Prine returned home to Chicago where he worked as a postman.
While doing his mail rounds, he wrote songs that would see him emerge, from open mic nights, as a key player on the windy city’s folk revival scene in the 1970s and go on to become one of America’s most influential artists.
“I likened the mail route to being in a library without any books. You just had time to be quiet and think, and that’s where I would come up with a lot of songs,” Prine told the Chicago Tribune in a 2010 interview.