Country singer Don Williams has died at the age of 78.
The late country star passed away after a “short illness” on Friday.
A press release from the singer’s PR team confirmed his death, saying that funeral arrangements are pending.
In a statement Friday, Kyle Young, CEO of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, Tennessee, said, “Don Williams offered calm, beauty, and a sense of wistful peace that is in short supply these days. “His music will forever be a balm in troublesome times.”
An internationally popular country star, Don was referred to as the “Gentle Giant” of country music and he earned 17 #1 country hits throughout his career.
Some of his hits are ‘I Believe in You,’ ‘Lord, I Hope This Day Is Good’, ‘You’re My Best Friend’, ‘Some Broken Hearts Never Mend’, and ‘Till the Rivers All Run Dry’.
According to Rolling Stone magazine, Don Williams was born in Floydada, Texas, on May 27th, 1939 and was raised in Portland, Texas, where he learned guitar from his mother.
Music had always been close to his heart, as he entered his first talent contest — and won — at the age of three.
Williams played in a band with several friends during his teenage years, and started a family not too long after graduating high school, marrying his wife Joy in April 1960.
Based in Nashville, the band earned two Top 40 tunes, “I Can Make It With You” and “Look What You’ve Done,” in late 1966.
After the group disbanded, Williams landed back in Texas to sell furniture in his father’s store before returning to Music City to embark on a solo career.
“Cowboy” Jack Clement signed Williams as a songwriter to his Jack Music publishing company, where he recorded demos for songwriter-producer Allen Reynolds, who later went on to helm projects for Crystal Gayle and Garth Brooks, among many others.
When other artists proved reluctant to record Williams’ songs, Clement signed him as an artist to his JMI Records, releasing his first country single, “Don’t You Believe,” in 1972. In 1974, the label issued “We Should Be Together,” which became the singer’s first Top Five hit.
Later that year, he scored the first of 17 Number One singles with the romantic “I Wouldn’t Want to Live If You Didn’t Love Me.”
Williams recorded his last studio album in 2014.