The ‘Gentle Giant’ of country music has left us, as Don Williams has passed away at the age of 78. We’ve got more on the legend’s sad passing and how country’s finest are paying tribute to him.
What a devastating day for the country music community. First Troy Gentry, 50, of the duo Montgomery Gentry died in a helicopter crash on Sept. 8, and word followed shortly after that legendary singer Don Williams has passed away at 78-years-old following a short illness, according to his publicist. He’d been a country star since the 1970’s, where he racked up chart topping hits such as “Tulsa Time,” “She Never Knew Me,” and “It Must Be Love.”
He earned the nickname ‘The Gentle Giant” for his smooth and mellow sound that was often referred to as “straight country velvet.” Don had his biggest hit in 1981 with “I Believe In You,” which was a number one country smash but also crossed over to reach number 24 on Billboard’s Hot 100 singles. He continued to crank out hits such as “Stay Young,” “If Hollywood Don’t Need You,” and “One Good Well” with his final top ten song coming in 1991, with the classic “Lord Have Mercy On A Country Boy.” Singer Josh Turner, 39, would go on to cover the song in 2006 and tweeted upon news of Don’s passing that, “I’m speechless. Pray with me for the family of Don Williams & especially the family of Troy Gentry. It’s a heavy day for country music.” Click here for the saddest celebrity deaths of 2017.
Don continued to perform for his beloved fans and released two albums in this decade that made the country music top twenty charts, 2012’s And So It Goes, and 2014’s Reflections. The latter included contributions from Alison Krauss, Vince Gill, and Keith Urban. Wow, that’s some love! He even performed a set at the massive Stagecoach Fest in 2013. Don decided to retire in 2016 after an amazing career that landed him a coveted induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2010. “It’s time to hang my hat up and enjoy some quiet time at home. I’m so thankful for my fans, my friends and my family for their everlasting love and support,” he said in a statement at the time. He may be gone, but his music and that legendary voice will live on to entertain generations of country fans to come.
Country stars immediately took to Twitter to mourn his passing:
Also just hearing about the passing of Don Williams.. terrible day.
— Blake Shelton (@blakeshelton) September 8, 2017
Sending my sincere and heartfelt prayers to the families & friends of Don Williams and @T_RoyMG.
— Kenny Rogers (@_KennyRogers) September 8, 2017
Country music is at loss today. Our prayers are with the families of Don Williams & Troy Gentry. It's a sad day.
— Luke Bryan (@LukeBryanOnline) September 8, 2017
Rest in peace Don Williams
You left us a lot great musical memories
— Charlie Daniels (@CharlieDaniels) September 8, 2017
Sad day for country music. Troy Gentry and Don Williams have passed and that makes my heart hurt. Don was my hero and Troy was my friend
— Jake Owen (@jakeowen) September 8, 2017
So sad to hear that "Gentle Giant" Don Williams has died! What an incredible legacy of great music he leaves behind. May he RIP. https://t.co/2kfgICRA7f
— Travis Tritt (@Travistritt) September 8, 2017
Our thoughts are with Don’s family, friends and fans in this sad time.