Country singer George Jones, who had a string of
number one songs between the 1950s and 1990s, has died aged 81.
publicist, Kirt Webster, said the Grammy-winning singer was admitted to
hospital for fever and irregular blood pressure and died on Friday.
Possum, his signature song was He Stopped Loving Her Today, a track about love
He was married
to Tammy Wynette between 1969 and 1975 and the pair recorded several songs
together in the 1970s.
Born in Texas
on 12 September 1931, Jones played guitar for tips on the streets of Beaumont
as a teenager before going on to serve in the US Marine Corps.
He returned to
Texas to record for the Starday label in Houston, achieving his first top ten
hit in 1955 with Why Baby Why.
Known for his
precise baritone and evocative voice, Jones' first number one song, White
Lightning, came in 1959, followed by Tender Years in 1961.
Garth Brooks paid tribute to the singer saying: "The greatest voice to ever
grace country music will never die. Jones has a place in every heart that ever
loved any kind of music."
Jones had a
string of top 10 songs during the 1960s and 1970s including If Drinkin' Don't
Kill Me (Her Memory Will), Window Up Above, She Thinks I Still Care, Good Year
for the Roses, The Race Is On.
But his battle
with alcoholism and cocaine addiction frequently derailed his career and at one
point his reputation for cancelling performances earned him the nickname
his second wife in 1968, Jones married Wynette a year later. The pairing was an
enormous professional success for both as they recorded and toured together,
recording several tracks including We're Gonna Hold On, Golden Ring and Near
Jones' addiction problem worsened, so too did his marriage to Wynette, who
later claimed he once came at her with a gun.
in 1975 but later resumed recording together. The couple's only daughter,
Tamala is also a country singer under the name Georgette Jones.
the track He Stopped Loving Her Today in 1980. The song, which he said was his
favourite, revived a flagging career and won him the Country Music Award's top
male vocalist award in 1980 and 1981. He also earned a Grammy for best male
country vocal performance.
to the singer on Twitter, Keith Urban said: "If I'm blessed enough to
make it there, I look forward to you giving me the grand tour. Rest in peace
Hill wrote: "We lost one of the best voices God created this morning. Our
hearts are saddened to hear that George Jones has passed away... Our thoughts
and prayers are with Nancy and all of the family."
his fourth wife Nancy, whom he married in 1983, with helping him clean up. But
in 1999 he was seriously injured after driving drunk and crashing into a
bridge, leading to another period of rehabilitation.
Jones was in
the middle of a US tour when he was taken into hospital. At the tour's final
date in Nashville in November, he was due to be joined by an array of country
music stars including Kenny Rogers, Randy Travis, Garth Brook and rapper Kid Rock.
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