Don Williams, 'Gentle Giant' of country music, dies aged 78

Country singer, Don Williams dies at 78

Country music mourned his death, as well that of country star Troy Gentry, who died in a helicopter crash on Friday.

Don Williams, country singer died on September 8 after a short illness.

The Texas native won his first talent contest at the tender age of three and formed a band with his friends as a teenager.

Williams recorded over seventeen (17) hits before retiring in 2016.

"It's a heavy day for country music", said Josh Turner, summing up what his community was feeling.

Except when onstage, the soft-spoken Williams generally shunned the spotlight, even managing to be absent when he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2010. Rolling Stone wrote, "whose imposing height and warm, reassuring voice earned him the nickname "Gentle Giant,", for Variety, "Williams' unassuming and famously gentlemanly manner was quiet enough" while Guardian UK used the words, "easygoing temperament".

He will be sorely missed.

Country's "Gentle Giant" was 78.

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"Tulsa Time", "I Believe in You" and "It Must Be Love", and "Good Ole Boys Like Me".

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

Known affectionately as the "gentle giant" due to his 6ft1 frame, Williams had 16 number one country hits during his long career. This include "You're My Best Friend" and "Lord, I Hope This day Is Good", "Tulsa Time". A year later he had his first No. 1 hit with "I Wouldn't Want To Live If You Didn't Love Me".

He'd score the biggest hit of his career in 1981 with the gorgeous "I Believe In You", which not only topped the country charts but also crossover success in the pop music world. His most recent studio album, Reflections, was released in 2014.

He found particularly enthusiastic fans in Britain and Africa, where his admirers included the rock stars Pete Townshend and Eric Clapton.

His final live performance was a year ago, when he told the audience it was time to hang up his hat.

A Don Williams tribute album was released this year, featuring cover versions from the likes of John Prine, Jason Isbell and Garth Brooks.

Funeral arrangements are pending, his publicist said.

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