Ray Price passed away on Monday at his Texas home after a battle with pancreatic cancer.
The Country Music Hall of Fame member collaborated with and inspired some of the biggest stars in country music.
Ray Price had more than 100 hits and was one of the last living connections to Hank Williams.
Price died Monday afternoon at his ranch outside Mount Pleasant, Texas.
Price was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2011 and it had recently spread to his liver, intestines and lungs. He stopped aggressive treatments and left the hospital last Thursday to receive hospice care at home.
At the time, his wife, Janie Price, relayed what she called her husband’s “final message” to his fans: “I love my fans and have devoted my life to reaching out to them. I appreciate their support all these years, and I hope I haven’t let them down. I am at peace. I love Jesus. I’m going to be just fine. Don’t worry about me. I’ll see you again one day.”
He reached the Billboard Hot 100 eight times from 1958-73 and had seven No. 1 hits and more than 100 titles on the Billboard country chart from 1952 to 1989. “For the Good Times” was his biggest crossover hit, reaching No. 11 on the Billboard pop music singles chart.
Price is considered one of the pioneers who made electric instruments and drums in country music popular. Price gave early breaks to Willie Nelson, Roger Miller and other major performers.
Price pursued the chance to make his music the way he wanted it, breaking away from traditional country. He said in 1981, “I have fought prejudice since I got in country music and I will continue to fight it. A lot of people want to keep country music in the minority of people. But it belongs to the world. It’s art.”
In 2007, he joined Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson on a double-CD set, “Last of the Breed.” The trio performed on tour with the Texas swing band Asleep at the Wheel.
Ray joked at the time, “I’ll be surprised if we don’t all get locked up somewhere”.
Price was born near Perryville, Texas, in 1926 and was raised in Dallas. He joined the Marines for World War II and then studied to be a veterinarian at North Texas Agricultural College before he decided on music as a career.
Price told the AP in 1976, “I’m my own worst critic. I don’t like to hear myself sing or see myself on television. I see too many mistakes.”
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