Artists as diverse as Kelly Clarkson, Brad Paisley, Dolly Parton and Alan Jackson are among those speaking out about the death today of celebrated singer George Jones. "It's a sad day for country music," said Loretta Lynn, while Paisley noted that Jones' hard-living life was evidence that "mistakes, missteps, and bad choices are not the end of the world."
Jones, 81, died at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. He had been suffering from a fever and irregular blood pressure.
The baritone from East Texas astonished and delighted fans who had seen him struggle with alcohol and drug abuse, multiple marriages and divorces, lawsuits over his erratic behavior and brushes with death in motor vehicle accidents.
PHOTOS: George Jones' career highlights
"He was a wonderful man and was my all-time favorite country singer. We recorded together, even performed shows together back in the '50s. He will surely be missed," said banjo luminary Dr. Ralph Stanley.
Jones, whose nickname was the Possum, won two Grammy Awards, was a five-time Academy of Country Music Awards winner and a seven-time honoree from the Country Music Assn. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1992. In 2008, he was given a lifetime achievement award as part of the annual Kennedy Center Honor in Washington, D.C.
Below are some reactions from the music community on Jones' passing.
George Jones: Career in Photos
“The world has lost the greatest country singer of all time. Amen." -- Merle Haggard
“My heart is absolutely broken. George Jones was my all time favorite singer and one of my favorite people in the world. My heart goes out to Nancy and the rest of his family.” -- Dolly Parton
“It’s a sad day for country music and a great loss for those of us who knew him. I was blessed to call George my friend. He was one of the best country singers there ever was. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Nancy, and all of his family. It’s a sad, sad day.” -- Loretta Lynn
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"There aren't words in our language to describe the depth of his greatness. I'll miss my kind and generous friend." -- Vince Gill
"The greatest voice to ever grace country music will never die. Jones has a place in every heart that ever loved any kind of music." -- Garth Brooks
“George Jones' life is an example of so many wonderful things: How someone's God-given gifts can make this a richer, better place. How one human being can overcome adversity, addiction, and life threatening obstacles time and time again. That it is not the stumble or fall that counts, but the willingness to stand again. How a keen sense of humor and a twinkle in a person’s eye can still prevail even after all of life's hard knocks. How mistakes, missteps, and bad choices are not the end of the world if a person chooses to turn them into something good. And George's life is above all the strongest example of how the love of a great woman can get a man through anything. All of this made its way beautifully into every note of the greatest voice country music will ever know. And one of the greatest friends you could ever have. We miss you already George.” -- Brad Paisley
"George Jones always spoke of my grandfather as his hero, which is funny today how he was easily one of my heroes. He wrapped his voice around a lyric in a way that I don't think I've ever heard before, with so much emotion pouring out seamlessly and simply. He was an outlaw, a rebel, and a hero. Elliott Smith once said his idea of Heaven was George Jones singing at the gates, I fully agree with him and I'm sure everyone up there is smiling. His music will never die." -- Holly Williams
"If I'm blessed enough to make it there, I look forward to you giving me the grand tour. Rest in peace George Jones!!!!!" -- Keith Urban
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