Glen Campbell, the country crooner and guitarist whose sentimental ballads and catchy pop hits soothed America during the tumult of the 1960s and 1970s, has died. He was 81.
The singer, a mainstay on AM radio stations with beloved tracks like “Rhinestone Cowboy,” had suffered from Alzheimer’s disease in recent years.
“It is with the heaviest of hearts that we announce the passing of our beloved husband, father, grandfather,” Campbell’s family said in a statement posted on his website. No cause of death was immediately announced.
Campbell, the son of an Arkansas sharecropper with a gift for the guitar, scored hits with “Gentle on My Mind,” “Wichita Lineman,” “Galveston,” and his signature track, “Rhinestone Cowboy.” A good-natured showman with a wide grin, Campbell made unabashedly earnest tunes for a country riven by the social upheaval of the Vietnam and Watergate eras.
“I did what my Dad told me to do — ‘Be nice, son, and don’t cuss. And be nice to people.’ And that’s the way I handled myself, and people were very, very nice to me,” Campbell told The Telegraph in 2011.
He appeared in a handful of Hollywood productions, most notably the classic Western “True Grit.” Campbell earned acclaim for his performance as a fresh-faced Texas Ranger, La Boeuf, who joins forces with John Wayne’s grizzled U.S. marshal to track down a killer.