Grand Ole Opry Legend Porter Wagoner Succumbs to Lung Cancer
Grand Ole Opry legend Porter Wagoner passed away tonight at 8:25pm at Alive Hospice in Nashville, Tenn. Wagoner, 80 years old, had recently been diagnosed with lung cancer. He is survived by three children, Richard, Debra and Denise.
“The Grand Ole Opry family is deeply saddened by the news of the passing of our dear friend, Porter Wagoner. His passion for the Opry and all of country music was truly immeasurable. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family at this difficult time,” says Pete Fisher, vice-president and general manager of The Grand Ole Opry.
Born in West Plains, Missouri in 1927, Wagoner was first a local radio fixture on his way to becoming a pillar of the Grand Ole Opry, a hit recording artist, television icon, Country Music Hall of Fame member, and the very model of the quintessential country music star.
Beginning in the early 50s, Porter had more than 80 charting singles, including more than 25 Top 10 hits. Hits including “Misery Loves Company,” “I’ve Enjoyed As Much of This As I Can Stand,” “The Cold Hard Facts of Life,” “The Carroll County Accident,” and “A Satisfied Mind” were all deeply rooted, hard-country classics. Other music such as “The Green, Green Grass of Home,” and one-of-a-kind concept albums are recognized today as being twenty and thirty years ahead of their time.
Wagoner brought his songs, his resplendent wardrobe of flashy rhinestone suits, and country music as a whole, to a massive and often new audience through the most modern means then available – syndicated television. The Porter Wagoner Show ran for an amazing 21 years, beginning in 1961, and reached more than 100 TV markets. Like its namesake, it was one of the most influential forces in country music history. And it was on the show that Porter introduced fans to the talents of Dolly Parton. Their duets yielded hit after hit, winning a Grammy and three CMA Duo of the Year Awards.
On May 19, the Opry honored Wagoner for his 50 years as an Opry member and celebrated with him the acclaim of what would be his final recording project, Wagonmaster, produced by his friend and fellow Opry star Marty Stuart.Porter Wagoner "Wagonmaster" Spotlight
Dolly Parton sings "I Will Always Love You" to Porter during his 50th Opry Anniversary
Porter performs "Ya'll Come" on a televised segment of the Grand Ole Opry from the 1980s