Country music has lost a legend. "He Stopped Loving Her Today" singer George Jones has died after a brief hospitalization in Nashville, publicist Kirt Webster confirmed to the Associated Press. He was 81.
According to Webster, Jones passed away on Friday, Apr. 26 at Vanderbilt Medical Center after being hospitalized with a fever and irregular blood pressure.
Jones first shot to superstardom in the 1950s, boasting No.1 songs across five different decades, including 1962's "She Thinks I Still Care" and 1981's "Still Doin' Time."
He is best known for his unique baritone voice, and was idolized by singers across the musical spectrum, including Frank Sinatra, Elvis Costello and James Taylor.
Some of today's biggest names are also mourning the loss of the country great.
"My friend, the greatest singer of all time, has passed," Brad Paisley tweeted on Friday. "To those who knew him, our lives were full. To those of you who don't: discover him now."
"It's a sad day for country music and a great loss for those of us who knew him," added iconic singer Loretta Lynn. "I was blessed to call George my friend. He was one of the best country singers there ever was. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Nancy, and all of his family. It's a sad, sad day."
"Remember When" singer Alan Jackson similarly offered his condolences. "Well, heaven better get ready for some great country music," he said in a statement. "While George was known for his wild and crazy days, I've known him for 25 years as a friend. He had grown into a real good man. Of course, he will always be the greatest singer and interpreter of real country music – there'll never be another."
"Like the song says, 'You know this old world is full of singers, but just a few are chosen to tear your heart out when they sing. Imagine life without them…Who's gonna fill their shoes,'" he continued.
In addition to his chart-topping hits, Jones was also known for his headline-making romances, substance abuse problems and violent rages. The country singer was married four times, and is survived by his wife of 30 years, Nancy Sepulveda, and four grown children — Susan, Jeffrey, Bryan and Tamala Georgette.
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