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PHOTOS: Glen Campbell, singer and Arkansas native, dies after battle with Alzheimer's

by Arkansas Democrat-Gazette | August 8, 2017 at 3:36 p.m. | Updated August 8, 2017 at 6:34 p.m.
Glen Campbell performs Sept. 6, 2012, in Little Rock during his Goodbye Tour.

Singer and Arkansas native Glen Campbell has died after a long battle with Alzheimer’s.

Campbell was 81. He was born in Billstown, a small Pike County community of about 50 near Delight, on April 22, 1936. He was the seventh of 12 children.

He was best known for his country-pop singles “Rhinestone Cowboy,” “Galveston,” “Wichita Lineman,” “Southern Nights” and “By the Time I Get To Phoenix,” but Campbell also was an accomplished studio musician who played for such performers as Elvis Presley, Dean Martin, Jan and Dean, and The Beach Boys.

Glen Campbell through the years

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[HIGH PROFILE: Read 1999 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette feature on Glen Campbell]

Campbell's publicist Sandy Brokaw says the singer died Tuesday morning in Nashville. No cause was immediately given.

A statement on Campbell's official Facebook page announced the death Tuesday afternoon.

"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," it said.

Campbell won five Grammys, sold more than 45 million records, had 12 gold albums and 75 chart hits, including No. 1 songs with "Rhinestone Cowboy" and "Southern Nights."

His performance of the title song from the 1969 film True Grit, in which he played a Texas Ranger alongside Oscar winner John Wayne, received an Academy Award nomination. He twice won album of the year awards from the Academy of Country Music and was voted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005. Seven years later, he received a Grammy for lifetime achievement.

His last record was "Adios," released in June, featured songs that Campbell loved to sing but never recorded, including tunes made famous by Bob Dylan, Linda Ronstadt and Johnny Cash. Ashley Campbell, also a musician, made a quest appearance and said making the album was "therapeutic."

"Glen is one of the greatest voices there ever was in the business and he was one of the greatest musicians," said Dolly Parton in a video statement. "He was a wonderful session musician as well. A lot of people don't realize that. But he could play anything and he could play it really well."

Tributes poured in on social media. "Thank you Glen Campbell for sharing your talent with us for so many years May you rest in peace my friend You will never be forgotten," wrote Charlie Daniels. One of Campbell's daughters, Ashley, said she was heartbroken. "I owe him everything I am, and everything I ever will be. He will be remembered so well and with so much love," she wrote on Twitter.

Arkansas officials also expressed their condolences.

“Although Glen Campbell lived in a lot of places and performed his songs all over the world, I have always thought of him as ours,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said. “He was a proud Arkansan who had a huge impact on the music world."

In a statement, Arkansas Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin mourned the loss of "Arkansas's very own, music and entertainment legend Glen Campbell."

"Glen's music and in it the authenticity of Arkansas touched people all around the world," he said.

Read Wednesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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