Glen Campbell Dead at 81
'Rhinestone Cowboy' singer had Alzheimer's
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 8, 2017 3:51 PM CDT
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This Sept. 6, 2012 file photo shows singer Glen Campbell performing during his Goodbye Tour in Little Rock, Ark.   (AP Photo/Danny Johnston, File)

(Newser) – Legendary singer Glen Campbell is dead at 81, his rep confirms to Rolling Stone. Campbell, who recorded such hits as "Rhinestone Cowboy" and "Wichita Lineman," revealed he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2011, embarking on a farewell tour and releasing his final original album that year. A documentary about that tour and Campbell's struggle with Alzheimer's was released three years later, followed by his final studio album—a collection of cover songs—this year. Campbell's wife said toward the end of his life that the singer, who spent his last years in an assisted living facility, still played his old songs.

"Music utilizes all of the brain, not just one little section of it," she said. "Everything's firing all at once. It's really stimulating and probably helped him plateau and not progress as quickly as he might have. I could tell from his spirits that it was good for him. It made him really happy." Campbell, who was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005, sold 45 million records over the course of his career, won multiple Grammys, and even hosted a variety show and dabbled in acting. "It is with the heaviest of hearts that we announce the passing of our beloved husband, father, grandfather, and legendary singer and guitarist, Glen Travis Campbell, at the age of 81, following his long and courageous battle with Alzheimer's disease," said his family in a statement.

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