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George Jones

DEAD at 81

4/26/2013 11:30 AM PDT UPDATED: 4/26/2013 8:51 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
breaking news

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8:51 AM PT --
Country superstar Alan Jackson -- who's known George for years -- tells TMZ ... “Well, heaven better get ready for some great country music."

He adds, "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.’”

8:04 AM PT --
George's publicist has released a statement on the singer's passing ... saying, "Today is a sad day for music. George said to me once, 'One day I'll Join the Angel band.' Well, today he did."

The statement continues, "George passed with his family by his side and the official cause of death is being listed as  'Hypoxic Respiratory Failure.'"

FYI -- H.R.F. means the lungs couldn't pump enough oxygen to the rest of the body.

7:44 AM PT --
A family member tells TMZ ... "He has been on oxygen for a long while now and his lungs finally just couldn’t do it anymore and they collapsed and he passed away. He couldn’t breathe anymore on his own."

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George Jones
... the country music megastar whose heartfelt vocals and close-to-home lyrics defined the genre for generations ... died today.  He was 81.

Jones was hospitalized in Nashville on April 18 for a fever and irregular blood pressure, though the cause of death was not immediately released.

Jones was in the middle of a tour -- which he announced would be his last -- when he fell ill. Several dates had already been canceled.

Jones' towering influence on country music was equaled only by his public persona ... which often imitated the melodrama in his songs ... and was well-chronicled in the tabloids. He was married four times -- once to Tammy Wynette -- and made countless headlines for drinking, stormy romances and violent rages.

But his star-power in country music cannot be overstated. Jones has charted more country hits than any other artist ... "He Stopped Loving Her Today" is perhaps his biggest, but the list of charted hits is around 150.



He was a Grand Ole Opry member, a Kennedy Center Honoree, and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1992 ... though given how much influence he had on country music ... they might as well have honored him every year.

Jones' first number one hit was "White Lightning" in 1959.



Jones nearly died in a car wreck in 1999, but recovered and kept his career vibrant right up until his death.

He is survived by four children and his fourth wife of 30 years, Nancy.

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229 COMMENTS

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61.

Weedy1dad    

they were called hippies and outlaws with guitars sometimes they flew a little too high somebody's playing their songs tonight things change

547 days ago
62.

RAY     

TO THE FAMILY OF OUR GREAT LEGEND , I AM IN DEEPEST SYMPATHY THAT ONE OF OUR GREATEST COUNTRY SINGERS HAS PASSED ON TO A MAN WHO KNEW MUSIC AND ALL YOU HAD TO DO IS REALLY LISTIN TO HIS MUSIC AND REALLY KNOW WHAT IT WAS ALL ABOUT LOVE GEORGE JONES YOU WILL BE MISSED BY ALL BUT NOT BY YOUR MUSIC R.I.P

547 days ago
63.

Brian    

Rip George I saw you live in Lindsay at the fair grounds many years ago you are the best country singer I've ever heard :0( bye no show jones the Possum . Gone but not forgotten ...

547 days ago
64.

tleeg    

I wasnt a huge country music fan but i know he was a legend in the genre. Rest In Peace!!!

547 days ago
65.

August    

I wonder how many bars & liquor stores are going to close down because of his death...

547 days ago
66.

Kaitlyn    

RIP George Jones. Beautiful music. You will be sadly missed. A true country singer, not like the garbage they call country music today such as Taylor Swift, Jason Aldean and The Band Perry etc. I can't even listen to the new stuff of today. Glad I still have my old albums of the truely great coiuntry artists.

547 days ago
67.

Silenteyesee    

Rest in peace Possum. One of the Greatest country stars of all times

547 days ago
68.

Raine     

I have to say TMZ.. I'm very impressed by your coverage of George Jones.. I wouldnt have thought you guys would get how important he was to country music because you dont strike me as the type of folks that would get the old timey country music. i know we fuss at yall alot for getting things wrong, but this one, you got right. He was amazing.

547 days ago
69.

Beverly Barnett    

Oh ! My God ,how sad to hear that the greatest singer in Country music has died ,My heart is broke into pieces. How I loved that man and his voice. My Mother bought an autographed picture of him at a yard sale and put in a frame and sit on a table in the living room as it was our family member and when it comes down to it he was. God Bless and comfort his children and Nancy through this sad time of loss and it's a great one. Nancy thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping us to enjoy George as long as we have had. There's no one who can fill his shoes ever never... My thought's and prayers are out there for you all. I'm a fan of 45yr's.

547 days ago
70.

Wow ...    

May he RIP and know peace that evaded him in life for so long. Condolences to his family, friends and fans. My favorite song was "Finally Friday", a lil coincidental.

547 days ago
71.

leafsfan1977    

This news definitely saddens me. I've always been a fan of George Jones.....loved his music and his voice. When I started singing 22 years ago, his songs were among the first I'd ever tried. The music world has indeed lost a legend today, and he will certainly be missed. R.I.P. POSSUM!!!!

547 days ago
72.

Mrugowsky    

This sucks. "White Lightnin" is one of my all time favorite songs.

547 days ago
73.

JJ    

Rest in peace, George. Thank you for sharing your gifts with us.

547 days ago
74.

Cathyd    

Such a sad day!! May he finally RIP! My condolences to his family!! He was a wonderful singer and now he and Tammy are making beautiful music in heaven!!!

547 days ago
75.

bjay    

Makes you wonder about clean living and getting old. George was one of the wildest bad boys and partied all the time and yet he made it to 81 wild years. RIP George.

547 days ago
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