Texan country star Ray Price has died at the age of 87. The singer/guitarist lost a hard-fought battle to pancreatic cancer today, and passed at his Mount Pleasant home surrounded by friends and family. His son mistakenly announced death this morning — wife Janie Price corrected reports, explaining that he was flagging, but not yet gone. The Associated Press now says a family spokesperson has confirmed the worst.
Price was a honky-tonk hero in the ’50s — Willie Nelson was in his band the Cherokee Cowboys — and in the ’60s made his name exploring Nashville-style ballads and pop-oriented arrangements. He eventually turned to gospel music, snagging a long-deserved Country Music Hall of Fame induction in 1996, and returning to secular music in 2007 to release Last of the Breed with Nelson and Merle Haggard.
The man best known for songs like “Crazy Arms,” “For the Good Times,” and “Night Life,” first spoke of his health troubles in 2012 in an interview with the San Antonio Express-News. Therein, he expressed that he didn’t care to while away his days in a nursing home. He maintained a sense of humor: “The doctor said that every man will get cancer if he lives to be old enough. I don’t know why I got it — I ain’t old!”
Play us out, Ray.