Music producer RICK RUBIN struggled to find the words to comfort his friend Johnny Cash the day his wife JUNE CARTER CASH died, and was taken aback when the late country star said he wanted to start recording immediately.

Rubin, who produced all of Cash's albums in the decade leading up to his death, phoned the HURT star when he heard June had passed away in May 2003.

Rubin says, "I spoke to him the day she died. And I have never heard him sound so sad.

"There was little that I could say to him that would soften the blow. In the end, all I could tell him was to hold on to his faith. I think that seemed to work.

"He told me he wanted to start recording straight away."

Cash died four months later in September 2003, aged 71.