Country singer Ferlin Husky dies at 85

Thu Mar 17, 2011 7:57pm EDT
 
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By Tim Ghianni

NASHVILLE, Tennessee (Reuters) - Country music great Ferlin Husky, a pioneer in both the hard-twang Bakersfield and lushly produced Nashville sounds who scored his biggest hit with the ballad "Gone," died on Thursday at age 85.

"Gone," which spent 10 weeks at the top of the country charts in 1957 and reached No. 4 as a pop hit, was easily the most requested song of Husky's half-century-plus career as a performer.

The Flat River, Missouri, native died at his daughter's home in Westmoreland, Tennessee, about an hour north of Nashville. He had a history of heart problems and most recently had been hospitalized for congestive heart failure.

It had been a long decline, and Husky surprised many when he attended the ceremony for his induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame last May.

He showed up connected to an oxygen tank -- he jokingly referred to it as his "own airline" at the ceremonies -- and was helped to his feet so his old friend Charley Pride could hang his Hall of Fame Medallion around his neck.

"I want to thank everybody who had anything to do with bringing me into this group, the people I've admired since I was a little child," he said during the ceremony.

But at the time, the country singer reckoned he would never make it into the Hall because voters might have forgotten him.

"Some of the people that vote are so young...I figured they thought Ferlin Husky was some kind of a disease," he told the Tennessean country music writer Peter Cooper.   Continued...

 
<p>Country music great Ferlin Husky, shown in this undated album photograph, a pioneer in both the hard-twang Bakersfield and lushly produced Nashville sounds who scored his biggest hit with the ballad "Gone," has died on March 17, 2011, at his daughter's home in Westmoreland, Tennessee, at age 85. REUTERS/Courtesy Heart of Texas Records/Handout</p>