“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,” the statement read. “The family appreciates your prayers and respect for their privacy at this time.”
Campbell revealed his diagnosis in 2011 and began his retreat from public life shortly after the announcement.
Campbell was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005, but his popularity spanned television, film and the world of pop music. Best known for his string of hits in the late ’60s and ’70s — including his signature song, 1975’s “Rhinestone Cowboy” — Campbell also hosted the CBS variety show “The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour” from 1968 to 1972, which introduced him to a mainstream audience and helped him win the CMA Entertainer of the Year award in 1969.
That same year, film legend John Wayne chose Campbell to appear with him in the western “True Grit,” which earned the singer a Golden Globe nomination for most promising newcomer. Campbell also sang the film’s Oscar-nominated theme song.
Though he won his first two Grammy Awards for his version of John Hartford’s “Gentle on My Mind,” Campbell’s career reached new heights when he began recording Jimmy Webb’s songs, including “Wichita Lineman,” “Galveston,” and “By the Time I Get to Phoenix.” The album “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” earned Campbell the Grammy award for album of the year in 1968. Another major hit, “Southern Nights,” followed in 1977, featuring Campbell playing a signature guitar lick he picked up from his friend, Jerry Reed.
Prior to becoming a star in his own right, Campbell established himself as an in-demand session guitarist in Los Angeles. As part of the studio session group nicknamed “The Wrecking Crew,” Campbell played guitar on classics including Frank Sinatra‘s “Strangers in the Night,” The Monkees’ “I’m a Believer,” and the groundbreaking Beach Boys‘ album “Pet Sounds.” Campbell also played bass and sang high harmonies on tour with the Beach Boys in 1964 and 1965.
The late 80s and early 90s saw Glen Campbell performing regularly…