America has just lost a true music legend and pioneer. The “Rhinestone Cowboy” singer has died at 81 after a prolonged illness.
Campbell’s family released a statement saying, "It is with the heaviest of hearts that we announce the passing of our beloved husband, father, grandfather, and legendary singer and guitarist, Glen Travis Campbell, at the age of 81, following his long and courageous battle with Alzheimer's disease.”
During his 50-year career, which saw its peak in the 1960s and 1970s, he produced 70 albums and had 21 Top 40 hits. “Rhinestone Cowboy,” “By the Time I get to Phoenix,” and “Wichita Lineman” were among his best known works. He even outsold the Beatles in 1968.
Campbell was born to a sharecropping family of 12 kids in Billstown, Arkansas back in 1936. He started a hugely successful music career after dropping out of school at the age of only 14. In 1964, Campbell took Brian Wilson’s place in the Beach Boys band after Wilson had a nervous breakdown.
Wilson once said, "His main forte is he's a great guitar player, but he's even a better singer than all the rest. He could sing higher than I could!"
Aside from the music stage, Campbell saw fame on the television stage as well, hosting “The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour” variety show. He also co-starred with John Wayne in “True Grit.”
His career highs saw personal lows, though. He struggled at times with cocaine addiction and alcoholism, getting arrested for drunk driving in 2003.
Watch one of his famous performances of "Rhinestone Cowboy":
Our prayers are with his friends and family. In other sad news, a legendary Tony Award-Winning actress and singer also died Tuesday morning at the age of 89.