By Alison M. Rosen
Updated September 12, 2003 11:28 AM

Country music has lost a legend. Johnny Cash, 71, the Man in Black who remained a towering figure in the music world over a five-decade career, died Friday morning from complications associated with diabetes, Reuters reports.

Cash died at Baptist Hospital in Nashville, according to a statement from his manager, Lou Robin. “Johnny died due to complications from diabetes, which resulted in respiratory failure,” said Robin.

His death comes just two days after he was released from Baptist Hospital after being treated for a stomach ailment that kept him from appearing at MTV’s Video Music Awards in August. Cash had been in and out of the hospital for years.

Adored by fans of all generations, Cash, known for songs like “Ring of Fire” and “I Walk the Line,” was considered an inspiration to a generation of Nashville performers.

He recently was honored with the MTV Video Music Award for his chilling video for his cover of the Nine Inch Nails song “Hurt.” The video won for Best Cinematography, and the song was just one of many recent collaborations with producer Rick Rubin, whom he worked with for a string of critically acclaimed albums.

Cash’s wife, June Carter Cash, died in May after undergoing heart surgery.

No funeral arrangements have been announced yet, but the family will release them soon, according to the statement.

For more on Johnny Cash’s extraordinary life, pick up the Sept. 29 issue of PEOPLE.