American folk singer John Prine is in stable condition after being placed on a ventilator while being treated for Covid-19 symptoms, his wife has said.

The singer-songwriter’s family said on Sunday that Prine was critically ill, but on Monday his wife Fiona Whelan Prine suggested his condition had improved overnight.

“Please continue to send your amazing love and prayers,” she said on Twitter. “Sing his songs. Stay home and wash hands. John loves you. I love you.”

News about his health provoked an outpouring of affection. Joan Baez responded with a video of her playing his song Hello In There from her kitchen.

Ms Prine, who is also his manager, tested positive for coronavirus earlier in March, and said the couple were quarantined and isolated from each other. She said on Monday that she had recovered from Covid-19.

The 73-year-old singer, one of the most influential in folk and country music, has twice fought cancer. Most recently, he was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2013 and had part of a lung removed.

The operations affected his voice but he continued to make music and to tour. Before the onset of the virus, he had shows scheduled in May and a summer tour planned.