Late singer-songwriter John Prine has been named an Honorary Poet Laureate of the State of Illinois.

Governor J.B. Pritzker announced on Tuesday that he has proclaimed Prine an Honorary Poet Laureate to commemorate the life of the Illinois native and celebrate his writing and musical contributions.

“Illinois has been home to many talented poets like Carl Sandburg, Sandra Cisneros, and Gwendolyn Brooks who all used their words to inspire readers across the world. I look forward to hearing from the next generation of great writers and announcing the next Illinois Poet Laureate in the coming months,” said Pritzker.

The legendary musician, who was born in Maywood, Illinois, passed away on April 7 after contracting COVID-19. Prine is the first to receive such an honorary designation.

“I have no doubt that John would be proud and delighted to receive this recognition from his home state of Illinois,” said his widow Fiona Whelan Prine.

Although Prine had moved to Nashville in the early 1980’s, he continued to visit Chicago and Maywood in particular, to spend time with his family.

“Watching John, as I did many times, play to an Illinois audience was always thrilling. A home boy delighting in the love and approval of his loyal fans – some of them family, longtime friends, old school buddies and neighbors,” she recalled.

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