Country lost one of its greats today, when George Jones died at age 81. According to Billboard, a rep confirms he passed away at Nashville's Vanderbilt University Medical Center after coming down with a fever and suffering blood pressure problems.
"Possum," as he was called, released more than 150 albums in his more than 50-year career, and for many he embodied traditional country music in a way worthy of Hank Williams, his idol. The Country Music Hall of Famer's hits included the heart-rending masterpiece "He Stopped Loving Her Today," and many more. He leaves behind his wife of 30 years, Nancy Jones, as well as his sister Helen Scroggins, and his children, grandchildren, and extended family.
As the AP notes, Jones' influence extended far beyond country, with Frank Sinatra, Pete Townshend, Elvis Costello, and many others heralding his work. Waylon Jennings has the immortal line, "If we all could sound like we wanted to, we'd all sound like George Jones."
Other tributes have been pouring in since Jones' passing. Wrote Blake Shelton, "Really REALLY bad news. We've lost a country music legend. And I've lost a hero and a friend. Goodbye George Jones..."