(CNN) – Glen Campbell, the upbeat guitarist from Delight, Arkansas, whose smooth vocals and down-home manner made him a mainstay of music and television for decades, has died.
His family made the announcement on Facebook. He was 81 years old.
Glen Campbell was a country boy who made it big with success in music, television, and film. He was born in a small town in Arkansas.
Around 1960 the young musician moved to Los Angeles, becoming a session musician, playing for the likes of Dean Martin, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, and Merle Haggard.
However, it wasn’t until 1967 that he hit it big with the release of two blockbuster albums, “Gentle on my mind,” which won two Grammy awards, and “By the time I get to Phoenix,” also garnering two Grammys.
Campbell was on a hot streak, and in 1968 came “Wichita lineman.” Sitting on Billboards Hot 100 charts for 15 weeks. Campbell capitalized on this popularity, and turned to television.
From 1969 through 1972 he hosted a variety show, “The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour.” He also tried his hand as an actor, co-starring in the iconic film “True Grit,” and performing the theme song, which went on to be nominated for an academy award.
But in the midst of his success, Campbell became ensnared in controversy. His on-again, off again relationship with singer Tanya Tucker became tabloid fodder.
He also battled an alcohol and drug addiction that he would later kick.
“I just woke up and said, I can quit this. I know I can, and like I said, I prayed and I prayed,” said Campbell.
Campbell continued to enjoy musical success. The song “Rhinestone Cowboy” shot to #1 on the billboard charts in 1975. He’d peak again in ’77 with the song “Southern Nights.”
In 2005, the star was inducted into the country music hall of fame. But in 2011, he shocked the music world with a stunning announcement:
Campbell: “What’d they diagnose me as?”
Kim Campbell: “Alzheimer’s.”
Campbell: “Alzheimer’s? What’s Alz…Alzheimer?”
The 75-year-old entertainer decided to bow out of the business and embarked on a final tour with a band featuring three of his children. The music world rallied around the icon.
In 2012, he received a lifetime achievement award at the Grammys, taking the stage to perform amidst a star-studded tribute.
“All I wanted to do, ever since I can remember, was play my guitar and sing,” said Campbell.