Country music legend George Jones has died today. After being assisted by oxygen, his body succumbed to hypoxic respiratory failure. He was 81.
Born and raised in Texas with his six siblings, George Glenn Jones was given his first guitar at age nine. Not long afterwards he was busking, and by 16 he was singing on the radio. One failed marriage already under his belt, Jones joined the Marines during the Korean War and was stationed in California. His musical career took off after his discharge.
The subsequent fame his hard-won talents and natural charisma would get him were frequently accompanied by scandal, culminating in massive tabloid coverage of his tumultuous six-year marriage with fellow country music star Tammy Wynette.
Nicknamed “The Possum” for the shape of his face, and “No-Show Jones” for missing several of his own concerts due to his battles with alcohol and drugs in the 1970s, Jones turned it all around and sobered up, touring right up until his age caught up with him.
He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1992, was a Kennedy Center Honoree in 1998, won a National Medal of Arts award in 2002, and in 2012 he received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.