Jim Nabors never had a country hit throughout his career, yet he always still felt like one of our own. From his iconic role as Gomer Pyle on “The Andy Griffith Show,” to his steady spot singing “Back Home Again in Indiana” before the start of the Indy 500 to the way he seemed awfully comfortable on the set of “The Muppet Show” when he sang “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” back in the ’70s, Jim always felt like a member of the country music community.

And that could be why it hurts so much to lose him.

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According to various reports, Jim died early on the morning of Nov. 30 at his home in Hawaii at the age of 87. A native of Alabama, Jim made the south proud through various roles on television and in movies in which he would showcase that good ol’ Southern twang. And who could forget his distinctive “Gawwwleee!”

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In a pre show business job answering phones at the United Nations in New York, Jim once said, “With my thick accent, people would try out different languages on me, never suspecting I was speaking English,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Race fans will recall that Jim sang “Back Home in Indiana” at the Indy 500 for the last time in 2014.

“I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t want to stay too long at the fair,” he said in an interview. “Everyone has been so incredible to me so many years. The first time I was here was 1972, so I guess most people have grown up with me.”

We did, and we will miss you now and forevermore.

Tricia Despres is the contributing editor for Rare Country, based out of Chicago, Illinois. Join the conversation on Twitter at @RareCountry. We would love to see y’all there.
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