George Jones dead at 81
Country-music legend George Jones died Friday (4/26) in a Nashville hospital, roughly a week after being admitted with a fever and irregular blood pressure. He was 81.
The Texas native was in the midst of his "Grand Tour," an extensive final round of dates to wrap up his 50 years as a touring artist. That outing began in mid-March and was set to run through late November.
Jones, the second best-selling country artist of all time, released his first Top 10 hit single, "Why Baby Why," in 1955, after which more than 160 charting singles would emerge. Other hit songs of his: "White Lightning," "She Thinks I Still Care," "The Race Is On," "A Good Year for the Roses" and "Walk Through This World With Me," as well as duets with former wife Tammy Wynette such as "Golden Ring" and "Near You."
Jones earned several awards during his 58-year career, including a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, a spot in the Country Music Hall of Fame and designation as a Kennedy Center Honoree. He released more than 60 albums -- a range of studio sets, live collections and hit compilations. The most recent effort, "Burn Your Playhouse Down - The Unreleased Duets," surfaced in 2008.
The iconic crooner also intended to release one more studio album, rumored to feature songs penned by Dolly Parton, according to a press release about the "Grand Tour." No word yet on that collection's status.