Country music star Don Williams dies at age 78

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Country music star Don Williams dies at age 78

He won the Country Music Association's awards for best male vocalist and best single for "Tulsa Time" in 1978. His first single, "Shelter of Your Eyes", made it to #14 in 1973, with his first #1, "I Wouldn't Want to Live If You Didn't Love Me", coming the following year.

Don Williams, one of the biggest stars in country music in the mid-1970s through late '80s, has died after an undisclosed illness.

"His music will forever be a balm in troublesome times", Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum CEO Kyle Young said in a statement Friday. That same year, he reached the pop Top Forty with the tender "I Believe in You", Between 1974 and 1991, of the almost 50 singles he released, first on Dot, then ABC/Dot - which would become MCA - then Capitol and finally RCA, all but three reached the Top Ten.

1 country hits throughout his career with songs including "Tulsa Time" and "It Must be Love".

Williams developed an global fan base with followers in England, Ireland, South Africa and Kenya. Burt Reynolds befriended him and cast him in "W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings" as well as "Smokey and the Bandit II", in which he played himself. All in all, Williams' Hot Country Songs chart numbers include 45 top 10 hits and 17 No. 1s, with his final leader being 1986's "Heartbeat in the Darkness".

He wrote: "So sad to hear that "Gentle Giant" Don Williams has died!" After a move to Nashville around 1969, Williams began penning songs for another country legend, "Cowboy" Jack Clement, and his newly formed JMI Records in 1971. "It's time to hang my hat up and enjoy some quiet time at home". Williams called it a career in 2016, with his final release being a Live CD / DVD recorded in Ireland, where he developed a loyal following. "I am so thankful for my fans, my friends and my family for their everlasting love and support". His last studio album came out in 2014 and he was the subject of a tribute album this year that included performances of his hits by Lady Antebellum, Garth Brooks and Chris Stapleton.

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