Sad news out of Nashville today, as multiple outlets are reporting that country music icon Don Williams has passed away at the age of 78.
Best known for such hit songs as “Tulsa Time,” “Good Ole Boys Like Me,” and “It Must Be Love," Williams' tall stature and soothing, baritone voice earned him the nickname "the Gentle Giant."
Williams' death was confirmed today by a statement from his publicist, who revealed that the singer passed away at home following "a short illness."
After beginning his career with the folk-pop outlet the Pozo-Seco Singers in early '60s, Williams went solo in 1972.
He charted his first hit with "The Shelter of Your Eyes" the following year.
From there, Williams quickly developed a reputation as one of the country world's most talented vocalists.
He remained a favorite among country music purists for decades, scoring number one hits as recently as the '90s, and amassing huge followings in such unlikely corners of the world as Kenya and New Zealand.
Following the news of his death, thousands of fans, friends, and fellow musicians took to social media to pay tribute to Williams.
The diversity of artists who cite him as a major influence is a testament to Williams' universal appeal and unmatched songwriting prowess.
Earlier this year, a collection of artists including Dierks Bentley, Brandy Clark, Lady Antebellum, and Jason Isbell recorded covers of their favorite Williams' tunes for the tribute album Gentle Giants: The Songs of Don Williams.
"In giving voice to songs like 'Good Ole Boys Like Me,' 'Lord, I Hope This Day Is Good,' and 'Amanda,' Don Williams offered calm, beauty, and a sense of wistful peace that is in short supply these days," said Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum CEO Kyle Young in a statement released moments ago.
"His music will forever be a balm in troublesome times. Everyone who makes country music with grace, intelligence, and ageless intent will do so while standing on the shoulders of this gentle giant."
In March of 2016, Williams announced that he would be retiring from touring and recording after more than fifty years in the music industry.
"It's time to hang my hat up and enjoy some quiet time at home," Williams said in his final interview.
"I'm so thankful for my fans, my friends and my family for their everlasting love and support,"
Williams is survived by his wife, Joy, and their two sons.
Our thoughts go out to the Williams family during this difficult time.