Country music has lost its most “Gentle Giant” Getty Images/Rick Diamond

Country music is mourning the loss of one of its most iconic singer-songwriters and a major influence on many of today’s country hitmakers.

Don Williams, the “Gentle Giant,” has passed away at the age of 78 after a brief illness.

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Known for his gently rumbling baritone, as well as his tall, lanky frame, Don’s career yielding a catalog of timeless hit songs, including 21 No. 1 chart toppers, that remain popular today. Songs like“Some Broken Hearts Never Mend,” positioned Don as a gifted songwriter, while his signature vocal was also appreciated as a storyteller whose breathtaking renditions of songs like “Tulsa Time,” “Amanda,” “Good Ol’ Boys Like Me” and “I Believe In Love” gave an incomparable voice to these now classics.

Keith Urban has been one of the most outspoken fans of Don’s work. Earlier this year, he told CMT that Don’s recordings, “influence the way I make records … They’re the masters of recorded simplicity and honoring a song in a way that I cannot think of other records that hit that spot of extraordinary craftsmanship. It’s about achieving that.”

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Keith, Vince Gill and Alison Krauss were all part of Don’s 2012 album, “And So it Goes.”

Don was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2010 and, in 1978, earned the CMA’s Male Vocalist of the Year award.

Based in Nashville, Tammy is a 20-year veteran of the country music community. She has worked in marketing, PR and artist development. Follow her @TammyGooGoo and join the conversation @RareCountry
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