Departed

Glen Campbell dead at 81

Country music icon Glen Campbell has died at the age of 81, Fox News has learned.

His family announced, "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." 

The star's publicist confirmed that he died Tuesday morning in Nashville. The legend behind hits including “Wichita Lineman" and "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" recently released his final studio album. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease six years ago.

He won five Grammys, sold more than 45 million records, had 12 gold albums and 75 chart hits, including No. 1 songs with "Rhinestone Cowboy" and "Southern Nights."

His performance of the title song from "True Grit," a 1969 release in which he played a Texas Ranger alongside Oscar winner John Wayne, received an Academy Award nomination. He twice won album of the year awards from the Academy of Country Music and was voted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005. Seven years later, he received a Grammy for lifetime achievement.

He released more than 70 of his own albums, and in the 1990s recorded a series of gospel CDs. A 2011 farewell album, "Ghost On the Canvas," included contributions from Jacob Dylan, Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick and Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins

"Glen’s abilities to play, sing and remember songs began to rapidly decline after his diagnosis in 2011," the singer's wife Kim Campbell said in a press release in April. "A feeling of urgency grew to get him into the studio one last time to capture what magic was left. It was now or never."

Campbell revealed he had Alzheimer's disease in 2011, but he went on to record two albums and play more than 150 concerts. At the time, Kim Campbell said the tour was a way to help her husband combat the brain-ravaging disease and spend time with family members who made up his band and traveled with him. 

He also starred in a documentary about life with Alzheimer's, "Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me." He won a Grammy for his song "I'm Not Gonna Miss You," which plays at the conclusion of the documentary. The song also was nominated for a 2015 Oscar.

His wife revealed in March that the singer could no longer play guitar or sing.

In an interview in April, Kim Campbell said, "Faith has always been the central part of our relationship. I’m so pleased that as Glen has entered the later stages of this illness, it’s evident that he has retained his awareness of God. That really comforts me to know that he has that sense of God’s presence in his life, that he’s not alone."

He was married four times and had eight children. As he would confide in painful detail, Campbell suffered for his fame and made others suffer as well. He drank heavily, used drugs and indulged in a turbulent relationship with country singer Tanya Tucker in the early 1980s.

The music legend is survived by his wife, Kim, their three children, Cal, Shannon and Ashley; his children from previous marriages, Debby, Kelli, Travis, Kane, and Dillon; 10 grandchildren, great and great-great-grandchildren; sisters Barbara, Sandra, and Jane; and brothers John Wallace "Shorty" and Gerald.

In late 2003, he was arrested near his home in Phoenix after causing a minor traffic accident. He later pleaded guilty to "extreme" DUI and leaving the scene of an accident and served a 10-day sentence.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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