US country singer George Jones, who had a string of number one songs between the 1950s and 1990s, has died aged 81.
Jones’ publicist, Kirt Webster, said the Grammy-winning singer was admitted to hospital for fever and irregular blood pressure and died on Friday, April 26th.
Nicknamed Possum, his signature song was He Stopped Loving Her Today, a track about love and death.
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.
Funeral to be held in Nashville
The funeral of country music legend George Jones will be held at the famous Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville and is open to fans, it has been announced.
“George would have wanted his fans and friends everywhere to be able to come and pay their respects along with his family,” publicist Kirt Webster said.
The ceremony will be held on Thursday, the 2nd of May, a day after a private visitation for family, friends and fellow performers.
In a statement, Jones’ widow Nancy said: “Thanks to George’s friends, fans, and loved ones for the outpouring of love at this terrible time. I love you all.”
The Grand Ole Opry House has a capacity of 4,400 and is home to America’s longest running radio show, titled The Grand Ole Opry.
Jones joined the cast of the Grand Ole Opry in 1956 and went on to enjoy success with hits including White Lightning, A Good Year for the Roses, Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes, The Grand Tour and Tennessee Whiskey.
After Jones’ death, country star Garth Brooks was among those paying tribute, 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.”