Ray Price, one of country music’s most influential voices, died Monday afternoon at his ranch in Texas, confirms a family spokesman. He was 87.
After being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2011, the disease spread to Price’s liver, intestines and lungs. He recently made the decision to stop aggressive treatments and returned home from the hospital last Thursday to receive hospice care.
The performer’s wife, Janie Price, relayed a final message to her husband’s fans: "I love my fans and have devoted my life to reaching out to them. I appreciate their support all these years, and I hope I haven't let them down. I am at peace. I love Jesus. I'm going to be just fine. Don't worry about me. I'll see you again one day.”
Price had more than 100 hits, including seven that reached number one. He is probably best known for his cover of the Kris Kristofferson song “For the Good Times,” which became a pop hit in 1970 and reached No. 11 on the Billboard pop music singles chart. Some of his country hits include, “Crazy Arms,” “Release Me” and “The Same Old Me.”
The singer began his career in the vein of the genre’s famous honky-tonk sound but switched to more of a pop vibe when he began introducing electric instruments and drums into his music. He eventually began touring with a string-laden 20-piece band and would often perform in a tuxedo and cowboy boots.
The country crooner served as a mentor to many struggling country acts and gave early breaks to Willie Nelson, Roger Miller, and many other major performers. Price continued performing and recording late into his 70s.