by: Kelcie Willis, Cox Media Group National Content Desk Updated:
Country music icon Glen Campbell has died at age 81, a representative for the “Rhinestone Cowboy” singer’s record label, Universal Music Group, confirmed to Rolling Stone.
He had been battling Alzheimer’s disease. The Associated Press reported that an immediate cause of death was not given.
A statement on the singer’s official Facebook page confirmed the news and said a personal statement from Campbell’s wife, Kim, will follow:
“It is with the heaviest of hearts that we announce the passing of our beloved husband, father, grandfather, and legendary singer and guitarist, Glen Travis Campbell, at the age of 81, following his long and courageous battle with Alzheimer's disease.
“Glen is survived by his wife, Kim Campbell of Nashville, TN; their three children, Cal, Shannon and Ashley; his children from previous marriages, Debby, Kelli, Travis, Kane, and Dillon; ten grandchildren, great- and great-great-grandchildren; sisters Barbara, Sandra, and Jane; and brothers John Wallace “Shorty” and Gerald.
“In lieu of flowers, donations for Alzheimer’s research may be made to the Glen Campbell Memorial Fund at BrightFocus Foundation through the donation page at Careliving.org.
According to Rolling Stone, Campbell was born in 1936 in Billstown, Arkansas, and was one of 12 children. The son of a sharecropper, he dropped out of school at 14 and moved to Wyoming with an uncle who was a musician. The two played at area bars.
By the time he was in his early 20s, Campbell was living in Los Angeles, The AP reported. He was part of his own music group, the Western Wranglers, and later replaced Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys in the mid-1960s.
In the late ‘60s, he was a solo performer and took an offer from Tommy Smothers of the Smothers Brothers to host “The Summer Brothers Smothers Show.” It led to his own successful variety show, “The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour,” which ran from 1969 to 1972.
Married four times, Campbell was famously linked to country singer Tanya Tucker, whom he dated from 1980 to 1981 and had a tumultuous relationship with.
Campbell also battled alcoholism and cocaine addiction. By 1981, he became a born-again Christian. The next year, he married his now-widow, Kim Woollen.
In 2011, the singer, then 75, announced his diagnosis with Alzheimer's disease and that he was retiring from music.
“Glen Campbell ... I’ll Be Me,” a documentary on Campbell’s farewell tour, called “The Goodbye Tour,” was released in 2014. The farewell tour ran from 2011 to 2012.
His last album, “Adios,” was released earlier this year and contained mostly covers of songs from Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Jerry Reed and Dicky Lee. Speaking to People about the album in April, Kim Campbell said the album contained songs her husband “had always wanted to record but had never gotten around to.”
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