Country music star George Hamilton IV dies aged 77

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The country music favourite George Hamilton IV, who began performing as a teenager in the 1950s, had suffered a major heart attack at the weekend. George was inducted into Nashville’s Grand Old Opry in 1960 and continued to work until shortly before he was taken ill. In the later phase of his career, Hamilton, who was born in North Carolina, concentrated on gospel music and making recordings of inspiration recitations, a type of spiritual song. He also became a regular guest singer with evangelist Billy Graham on his many rallies around the world. Hamilton’s most recent album, made in 2010, was a gospel-influenced collection featuring a host of guest artists. George Hamilton IV died on Wednesday afternoon at St. Thomas hospital, where he was admitted over the weekend after suffering a heart attack. The 77-year-old began his career in the late ’50s, made it into the Opry in 1960 and was most recently seen greeting fans taking the backstage tour at the Opry. One of Hamilton’s biggest hits, Abilene, spent a month at No. 1 in 1961 and made him an international star. Hamilton’s nickname was the “International Ambassador of Country Music.” He is remembered by his Opry family as one of the kindest men to ever walk the Opry stage. Hamilton is survived by his wife Tinky and daughter Mary.

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