George Jones, Iconic Country Crooner, Dies At 81
George Jones, the legendary country singer, died on Friday at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn. He had been hospitalized on April 18 due to a high fever and irregular blood pressure, according to his publicist, Kirt Webster.
Over his career, which spanned five prolific decades, Jones recorded 150 albums and had number one songs in each of the five decades – the 50s through the 90s. His first Billboard hit was in 1955. He won a Grammy in 1981 for his hit "He Stopped Loving Her Today" and for "Choices" in 1999. Seven years prior, he had been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, and nine years later he would be honored in Washington at the Kennedy Center.
Musicians from all genres, though especially from country, looked up to the late singer, and thought of him as an idol. "if we all could sing like we wanted to, we'd all sound like George Jones, " Waylon Jennings once sang in a song.
Throughout his career, Jones battled both alcoholism and drug addiction. His trouble with alcohol was attributed as the likely cause of a 1999 accident in which Jones almost lost his life. Jones is no stranger to close calls with death, as he once went under bypass surgery and when a tour bus that he was scheduled to travel on was in a fatal crash.
Jones is survived by his wife, Nancy Jones, and his four children.