NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Glen Campbell, the grinning, high-pitched entertainer who had such hits as “Rhinestone Cowboy” and spanned country, pop, television and movies, has died. He was 81.
Campbell’s publicist Sandy Brokaw says the singer died Tuesday morning in Nashville. No cause was immediately given. Campbell announced in June 2011 that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and that it was in its early stages at that time.
Glen Travis Campbell was born on April 22, 1936 in Delight, Arkansas, the seventh of 12 children. He started learning guitar at age four and dropped out of school at age 16 to play music professionally. He joined his uncle’s Dick Bills Band in 1954 before forming his own group, Glen Campbell and the Western Wranglers, in 1958. Campbell was also briefly a member of The Champs — known for the instrumental hit “Tequila” — in 1959.
Campbell was one of the biggest stars of the late 1960s and 1970s. He sold more than 45 million records, had 12 gold albums and 75 chart hits. He co-starred with John Wayne in the 1969 movie “True Grit” and had a weekly audience of some 50 million people for the “Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour” on CBS from 1969 to 1972.
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