Glen Campbell, superstar entertainer of 1960s and ’70s, dies

Campbell announced in June 2011 that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and that it was in its early stages at that time.

Glen Campbell, the multiple Grammy-winning country-pop singer, guitarist and TV personality whose half-century career was capped by a singular last act after he went public with his advancing Alzheimer’s disease, has died. He was 81.

Possessed of a crystalline tenor voice, boyish good looks and a high-wattage smile, Mr. Campbell sold more than 45 million records and was known for a signature string of ’60s and ’70s country-music hits that included “Gentle on My Mind,” “Wichita Lineman” and “Rhinestone Cowboy.”

Mr. Campbell began to slowly draw the curtain on his prolific career after announcing that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2011, a battle that inspired a farewell tour, documentary and a heartbreaking final album, “Adios,” released in 2017.

Mr. Campbell’s death was announced Tuesday in a post on his official website and social-media accounts.

“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 said.

Born in Billstown, a tiny community near the town of Delight, Arkansas, he was the seventh son of a seventh son, the child of sharecropper John Wesley and Carrie Dell Campbell, who would go on to have several more children. By all accounts, his early life was one of severe poverty that included picking cotton in the fields alongside his brothers. The seeds of his career were planted at the age of 4 when he received a guitar that had been ordered from a Sears, Roebuck & Co. mail-order catalog.

By age 6, he was skilled enough to appear on local radio stations, and by 10th grade he would quit high school to pursue a music career full time. By the time he was 20, he had joined his uncle’s band — the Albuquerque-based Sandia Mountain Boys — where he would hone his skills before striking out on his own to form Glen Campbell and the Western Wranglers in 1958.

In his 20s, Mr. Campbell, who had come West to Los Angeles to seek stardom, flourished as part of the Wrecking Crew, the fabled, though mostly unknown to the public, collective of studio and session musicians who played behind some of the biggest names in the music…

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