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‘Rhinestone Cowboy’ Icon Glen Campbell Passes Away at 81

Glen Campbell Performing
Angela Weiss, Getty Images For The Open Hearts

As reported by Rolling StoneGlen Campbell has passed away today, Aug. 8, at the age of 81. The singer and musician was revered in both the pop and country worlds, having won two Grammy Awards in each genre and released over 70 albums throughout his career. He died of Alzheimer’s disease, which he announced he was diagnosed with six years ago. The singer’s family released a statement to Rolling Stone, revealing that “It is with the heaviest of hearts that we announce the passing of our beloved husband, father, grandfather, and legendary singer and guitarist, Glen Travis Campbell, at the age of 81, following his long and courageous battle with Alzheimer’s disease.”

Campbell, who was born in a small Arkansas town, moved to Los Angeles in 1960 to become a session musician. He had dropped out of high school at 14 and spent years in a band with his uncle before the move. Within two years, he was a respected member of the Wrecking Crew, a group of renowned session musicians. The next year, he would record over 500 cuts.

Campbell would go on to record and perform with artists like the Beach Boys, Elvis Presley and Merle Haggard. His first solo albums were relatively unsuccessful. It wasn’t until “Burning Bridges,” released in 1966, that he charted on the Billboard Country chart top 20 songs. His music would go on to chart 80 times on the Country, Hot 100 and Adult Contemporary charts. His version of Larry Weiss’ “Rhinestone Cowboy” and Allan Toussaint’s “Southern Nights” would be some of his biggest successes.

See other musician’s reactions to Campbell’s death and offers of sympathy below.

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