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Ray Price Dead at 87

Ray Price
Michael Ochs Archive, Getty Images

Country Music Hall of Famer Ray Price has died. The singer succumbed to complications from pancreatic cancer at his home in Mt. Pleasant, Texas on Monday (Dec. 16), four days after issuing a goodbye letter to his fans and entering home hospice. 

Price’s 65-year career created a catalog of well-known, award-winning hits, but he’s also remembered as a true gentleman. “Ray Price was a member of country music’s greatest generation, and he radiated poise, dignity and class,” Grand Ole Opry announcer Eddie Stubbs told the Tennessean.

Hall of Fame deejay Bill Mack confirmed Price’s death on Facebook:

JANIE JUST CALLED ME: RAY PRICE LEFT FOR HEAVEN AT 4:43 PM CENTRAL TIME. HE WENT IN PERFECT PEACE. DETAILS LATER. JANIE AND THE FAMILY SO GRATEFUL FOR YOUR PRAYERS. RAY’S BODY WILL BE RECEIVED AT RESTLAND FUNERAL HOME IN DALLAS.

Known for his signature shuffle, Price, a native Texan, notched 20 Top 10 singles in his first few years as an artist. ‘Crazy Arms’ was first major hit in 1956, although he enjoyed spot success in the years prior. Then came No. 1 hits like ‘My Shoes Keep Walking Back to You’ and ‘The Same Old Me,’ as well as 12 other Top 5 singles during his first 10 years as a major recording artist. He was a rare artist able to enjoy country radio success in four different decades. ‘Diamond in the Stars’ and ‘It Don’t Hurt Me Half as Bad’ were his final Top 10 hits in 1981. ‘City Lights’ and ‘You’re the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me’ were two other big songs for the man born Noble Ray Price.

Price’s final album was the Grammy-winning ‘Last of the Breed’ project with Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson in 2007. It was his second Grammy — ‘For the Good Times’ took home a Grammy and two ACM Awards in 1971. Price was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1996.

Price let fans know he was battling cancer in November 2012, but announced he was in remission in February. However, he spent significant time in the hospital in 2013, and earlier in December it was revealed that the cancer had returned and was causing complications.

Janie Price, Price’s wife of 45 years, announced they’d no longer be seeking treatment as of last week. The singer was alert and able to provide one final thank you to his fans.

“I am at peace. I love Jesus. I’m going to be just fine. Don’t worry about me. I’ll see you again one day,” he said at the time. A tribute show and new album featuring his music are planned for 2014.

Next: Top Ray Price Songs

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