Opry Star Wagoner Dead at 80

Pioneer revolutionized country music
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 29, 2007 9:40 AM CDT

(Newser) – Grand Ole Opry star Porter Wagoner died of lung cancer in Nashville last night, just as the Country Music Hall of Fame—which enshrined him in 2003—gathered to induct new members. He was 80. Wagoner will be remembered as a rhinestone-clad innovator who pioneered the country concept album and introduced the world to longtime collaborator Dolly Parton, the Tennessean reports.

Wagoner won three Grammy Awards and hosted a syndicated variety show (1960-79) that raised the profile of country music across the country. He defied the odds to recover from an aneurysm a little over a year ago, returning to release the critically acclaimed album Wagonmaster, which the LA Times says is expected to garner a posthumous Grammy nod.