Country Legend George Jones dies at 81

Country music legend George Jones died on Friday (26Apr13) at the age of 81. The Door hitmaker was admitted to a hospital in Nashville, Tennessee earlier this month (Apr13) suffering from a fever and irregular blood pressure which had been detected during a routine check-up. Jones axed two concerts on his farewell tour to battle the illness, but on Friday it was announced the veteran star had passed away. No further details were available as WENN went to press.

Born in Saratoga, Texas in 1931, Jones began playing the guitar at the age of nine and he left home at 16 to pursue a music career. After a stint serving with the United States Marine Corps, Jones returned to music and gained a reputation for his hard-drinking lifestyle and his wildman antics, earning himself the nickname ‘No-Show Jones’ for his tendency to miss gigs through drunkenness. From the 1950s to the early 2000s he notched up dozens of hit albums and top 10 songs in the U.S. and Canadian country music charts, and he frequently toured the U.S. As his advancing years began to catch up with him, Jones announced last year (12) he planned to retire from live performance after one final 60-city road trip, dubbed The Grand Tour, this year (13).

Sadly, the star fell ill and was unable to complete his farewell concerts, which were due to end with a show in Nashville in November (13). He was also planning to release a final album, featuring duets with Dolly Parton. Jones was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1992 and was given a Grammy Lifetime Achievement award last year (12). In 2008 he was named as a prestigious Kennedy Center Honoree. The musician was married four times, including a six-year union with fellow country icon Tammy Wynette, and had two sons and two daughters. He was still wed to fourth wife Nancy when he passed away.