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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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91.

dennis    

your the best , rest in peace.

509 days ago
92.

Lucky22    

He is gonna be missed. he was a very good singer.....

509 days ago
93.

Wayne Valentine    

This Man and his music is what Country Music is. Sad to see him go, but his music will live on for us to listen to always.

509 days ago
94.

patsy    

RIP George. One of kind will be missed.

509 days ago
95.

Deborah    

Perhaps......."He Stopped Loving Her Today"........

509 days ago
96.

Jasper    

It is amazing that it doesn't matter how white entertainers conduct themselves they will always be given accolades when they die.

509 days ago
97.

barbarella    

Love and Miss George Jones. Together with Loretta Lynn they were classic."you're the reason our kids are ugly".......classic!

509 days ago
98.

whateveryou    

He was one of the best singers to come down the pike - any pike. & he lived a very colorful life. May he RIP.

509 days ago
99.

ragu4u    

Ageless, timeless and never to be surpassed, George Jones has left his imprint on Country Music forever and a day! I can recall during one of the many low spots in his life he was playing a small "dive" in Northwest St. Louis County on a rainy cold night. The place was empty but for me, the bartender and George. He went ahead and sang a complete set anyway. I'll tell you this much, that night when he sang "He Stopped Loving Her Today" even the empty bar stools cried. Adios, old Possum.

509 days ago
100.

Chuck    

I am not a huge country music fan, but have gone to three George Jones concerts. Each time I cried when he sang "He Stopped Loving Her today". Truly a master at expressing pain through song. My feeling is that Nancy was his saving angel. She helped him through the toughest times.

509 days ago
101.

Jules1998    

Thank you TMZ for such a great article on this country legend!!! He stopped loving her today but the people who loved his music will love him forever!!!

509 days ago
102.

Debs626    

RIP to a great country artisit.

509 days ago
103.

Dolores Skeel    

George Jones will live on through his music. My husband was his biggest fan and plays his music in the workshop all day long. He had a tear in his voice in every song he sang.

509 days ago
104.

flora68    

I coulda sworn he was already dead.

509 days ago
105.

Aaron Pruitt    

He gave me a brief moment of clarity with his song She loved a lot in her time... After a 3 day run Ii was coming down and seen the video March 1992 It hit me like a truck ... I might no be sober today if it wasn't for him God no doubt has him RIP. ... Just a girl was a great song he did also

509 days ago
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