US country and pop singer Glen Campbell has died after a long battle with Alzheimer’s, his family said on the musician’s official Facebook account. He was 81. Campbell passed away on Tuesday, Efe news reported. “It is with the heaviest of hearts that we announce the passing of our beloved husband, father, grandfather,” their statement said.
The singer, who during his life sold more than 45 million albums, gained national and international fame in the 1960s and ’70s not only for his hit songs but also for his television and movie appearances. Born in 1936 into a humble family in Delight, Arkansas, Campbell got his start in the music world at an early age and, as a guitarist, always admired Django Reinhardt.
In his early 20s, Campbell moved to Los Angeles, where he gained fame as an excellent and much sought-after studio musician, working with stars such as Elvis Presley, Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra.
When Brian Wilson, the genius behind The Beach Boys, suffered health problems that led him to temporarily drop out of the band in the mid-1960s, Campbell joined the group for a few months to help out on concert tours. But he also tried to develop a solo career, succeeding in 1967 with hits such as “Gentle On My Mind” and “By the Time I Get to Phoenix.”
Later, he continued to churn out hits such as “Galveston,” “Southern Nights” and “Rhinestone Cowboy.” In addition, he made his movie debut in “True Grit” in 1969, co-starring with John Wayne and singing the title song, which was nominated for an Oscar.
Campbell also made it big in television with appearances on different TV series and ultimately headlining his own show – “The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour” – from 1969-1972. The 1980s were a dark period for the musician, as he battled drug and alcohol problems.
A member of the Country Hall of Fame, in 2011 Campbell announced that he was suffering from Alzheimer’s, an issue dealt with in the 2014 documentary “Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me,” directed by James Keach. Also in 2011, he released his last album containing original songs entitled “Ghost on the Canvas,” although he made his recording farewell later that year with an album eloquently entitled “Adios.”