BREAKING: Songwriter/Producer Busbee Has Died

Acclaimed songwriter/producer Busbee has died, according to several social media posts. Busbee, whose real name was Michael James Ryan, was…


Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

September 29, 2019


9:03 pm

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Busbee; Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Spotify

Acclaimed songwriter/producer Busbee has died, according to several social media posts. Busbee, whose real name was Michael James Ryan, was 43 years old.

News of his death spread across social media Sunday evening (Sept. 29) after several artists, including Maren Morris and Carly Pearce, took to various platforms to pay tribute to their friend, producer and fellow songwriter.

“This just doesn’t seem fair,” Morris wrote on Twitter. “I will always love you and the songs and albums I was lucky to make with you, Busbee. Rest well, my sweet friend.”

Pearce shared a series of photos and videos on Instagram to honor him, writing, “I sang ‘every little thing’ tonight through broken tears with thousands of voices and cell phone lights in the air, because I asked them to raise them up high so you could see them shining from heaven. What a beautiful sight it was. You gave my music a place in this world. I’ll cherish the 2 albums, songs, talks, laughs & memories we shared over the years. My heart is broken, but the legacy of your talents and your heart will live on in all of the artists and people you touched. I love you, Busbee.”

In addition to working with Morris and Pearce, Busbee has spent time in the studio and/or writing room with artists such as Keith Urban, Lady Antebellum and Kelly Clarkson.

According to reports, Busbee had more than 1,000 songwriting credits to his name.

Details surrounding his death have yet to be confirmed, however, a social media post from songwriter Ross Golan reveals that Busbee had recently received a medical diagnosis of some sort.

“I love you, Busbee. We texted every day since the diagnosis,” Golan shared on Twitter. “I didn’t understand why you didn’t respond today. I’m so sad. Thank you for being there for me and Jac when we were hurting. I tried to be there for you but no one’s heart is bigger than yours. Love you, brother.”

Casual country music fans may not have known his name, but chances are, his songs have impacted their lives. He had a hand in writing a number of hits such as Rascal Flatts’ “Summer Nights,” Florida Georgia Line’s “H.O.L.Y.,” Lady Antebellum’s “Our Kind Of Love” and “You Look Good,” Garth Brooks’ “People Loving People,” Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood’s “The Fighter” and so many more.

His extensive work with Morris on her debut album, Hero, earned praise from fans and critics alike. He earned his first and only Grammy nomination for Best Country Song for co-writing Morris’ breakout hit, “My Church.”

UPDATE: Variety reports that Busbee was recently diagnosed with Glioblastoma, a type of brain cancer. According to WebMD, Glioblastoma is an aggressive malignant brain tumor. There is no cure for the disease.

Busbee was a father of three, including an infant daughter, according to Variety‘s report.

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Lauren Jo Black

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Lauren Jo Black

Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for and her work being featured on She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.