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Grammy-nominated songwriter and producer Michael James Ryan, also known as Busbee, died at 43.
USA TODAY

Grammy-nominated songwriter and producer Michael James Ryan – known professionally as Busbee – has died at age 43.

The news was shared on Sunday by one of Ryan’s frequent collaborators, Maren Morris, who tweeted, “This just doesn’t seem fair. I will always love you and the songs and albums I was lucky to make with you, Busbee. Rest well, my sweet friend.”

The cause of death has not yet been made public.

Ryan produced all but one of the songs on Morris’ debut, “Hero,” and co-wrote the hits “My Church” and “80s Mercedes” with the country star. He also produced and/or co-wrote songs for Keith Urban, Shakira, Lady Antebellum, Pink and Garth Brooks.

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Blake Shelton also mourned on social media. 

“I absolutely can’t accept the loss of mine and Gwen’s friend Michael (Busbee)..Too much to say for social media,” the “Voice” coach tweeted early Monday. “Too much pain and unfairness period.

“I guess sometimes you gotta dig extra EXTRA deep for peace to continue to have faith,” Shelton added. “And I will because Michael ALWAYS had faith.”

Warner Records, which had a partnership with Ryan, also shared news of his passing on Twitter.

“Today we lost busbee, a dear friend, business partner with his company Altadena, and one of the best and brightest creative minds in music,” its official account posted Sunday. “busbee’s kindness and legacy will never be forgotten and our hearts and prayers go out to his family at this very difficult time.”

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Ryan’s work with Morris earned him three Grammy nominations in 2017. At a nominees party in Nashville that year, he shared his most valuable piece of career advice.

“Put your head down and play the long game,” he told The Tennessean, a part of the USA TODAY Network. “It’s a very competitive world, and if you get too caught up in what other people are doing, or what opportunities certain people are getting, it’s just going to drive you crazy. There’s enough success for everybody.”

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