Country music singer Don Williams has died at the age of 78, his publicist announced on Friday.

Williams, who was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2010, passed away after a short illness.

Considered one of country music’s greatest singers, Williams was renowned for his rich baritone voice and distinct style of storytelling.

Nicknamed ‘Gentle Giant’, Williams had 17 No. 1 hits before retiring in 2016.

Some of his well-known hits were Tulsa Time, It Must Be Love, She Never Knew Me, I Believe in You, Lord, I Hope This Day Is Good, You’re My Best Friend, Some Broken Hearts Never Mend, Till the Rivers All Run Dry and Back in My Younger Days.

The Shelter of Your Eyes, his first hit song, was released in 1973.

Singer Josh Turner said on Twitter that it was “a heavy day for country music” while compatriot Lee Brice said “the world changed today”.

Kyle Young, CEO of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, 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. Everyone who makes country music with grace, intelligence, and ageless intent will do so while standing on the shoulders of this gentle giant.”

Although Williams embarked on a farewell tour in 2006, he would later emerge from retirement to release two albums And So It Goes and Reflections, in 2012 and 2014, respectively.

When he finally took a bow in 2016, Williams said: “It’s time to hang my hat up and enjoy some quiet time at home.”

Gentle Giant, a tribute album done in his honour, was released earlier this year. Some of the artistes who worked on the project are Krauss, Chris and Morgan Stapleton, Garth Brooks, and Dierks Bentley.

Williams inspired many leading lights of modern day country music.



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