February 21, 2018

Country Music Singer Don Williams Dies At Age 78

10 September 2017, 02:28 | Cassandra Thompson

David Redfern via Getty Images

David Redfern via Getty Images

Country music great Don Williams has died after a short illness, his publicist announced Friday afternoon.

Don Williams, known as the "gentle giant of country music", has died aged 78. He made a decision to retire in 2016.

Born in 1939 in the rural community of Floydada in Texas, the legendary country music icon was raised in Portland, Texas where he learnt to play the guitar from his mother.

Speaking and singing in his honor at the Hall of Fame induction ceremonies, admirer Alison Krauss said, "I think he sounds somewhere between Santa Claus and the Almighty".

"Cowboy" Jack Clement signed Williams as a songwriter to his Jack Music publishing company, where he recorded demos for songwriter-producer Allen Reynolds, who later went on to helm projects for Crystal Gayle and Garth Brooks, among many others. They are two of country's most recognizable stars, with such hits under their belts as "Something to Be Proud Of" and "Lucky Man", which won them a Grammy in 2008.

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Gentry had been scheduled to perform with his music partner, Eddie Montgomery, on Friday night.

After graduating high school, he moved to Corpus Christi and formed a folk band called The Pozo Seco Singers. He also appeared in the films "Smokey and the Bandit II" and "W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings". "There's very few things in my life that I've done that come anywhere close to making you feel exhilarated and humbled and fulfilled and challenged and all that, all at the same time". He ultimately released more than 35 albums. "I'm so thankful for my fans, my friends and my family for their everlasting love and support", the 76-year-old Williams said in a statement at the time, which was also included in the news release about his passing.

Williams performed his final concert past year and had been living in Ashland City.

According to The Tennessean, artists like Dierks Bentley, Jason Isbell and Chris Stapleton covered Williams' biggest hits on a tribute album, "Gentle Giants", earlier this year. In 1974, Williams earned his first No. 1 song, "I Wouldn't Want to Live If You Didn't Love Me".

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