The 87 year old singer was considered by many to be one of the best male vocalists country music had to offer. Speakers at the Richardson, Texas service, which hundreds attended, described his rich baritone voice as magical.
Among his more popular hits are “Please Release me”, “For the Good Times”, "I Won't Mention It Again" and “You’re the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me.” He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1996 and continued to tour and record until he was well into his 80s.
His cancer was announced in November of 2012 along with the news that he had been undergoing chemotherapy for six months. He declined a surgical option which would have removed his pancreas along with portions of his stomach and liver and would have required a long recovery process in a nursing home.
In February of 2013, his cancer appeared to be in remission. He was hospitalized for dehydration in May 2013 and then again on Dec. 2 in the final stages of the pancreatic cancer. He went home to hospice care on Dec. 12 and died 4 days later.
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