Charlie Louvin Battling Pancreatic Cancer
Country music legend Charlie Louvin is battling stage 2 pancreatic cancer. The Country Music Hall of Famer, who celebrates his 83rd birthday today (July 7), heard the diagnosis after seeing a doctor about what he says was just a minor complaint.
According to a statement on his official website, Charlie will go in for a six hour surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville on July 22. During what is called a Whipple procedure, doctors will remove part of his pancreas, small intestine and bile duct and will then reconstruct his digestive tract. The singer will likely be in the hospital for two weeks.
The Louvin Brothers -- Charlie and his brother, Ira -- started singing together as teenagers. Their first big hit, 'When I Stop Dreaming,' hit the Top 10 on the country charts in 1955, the same year they became members of the Grand Ole Opry and toured with Elvis Presley as their opening act. Other hits that followed included 'I Don't Believe You've Met My Baby,' 'The Christian Life,' 'You're Running Wild' and 'Knoxville Girl.' The duo disbanded in 1963, with Ira releasing a solo album in 1964. He died a year later in a car crash.
Charlie's solo career also began in 1964, with 'I Don't Love You Anymore' being his first Top 5 hit beyond the Louvin Brothers. He's also known for the classics 'I Think I'll Go Somewhere and Cry Myself to Sleep,' 'Less and Less,' 'Off and On' and a long list of other beloved hits as a solo artist.
Charlie released two albums in 2008 -- 'Steps to Heaven' and 'Sings Murder Ballads and Disaster Songs.' He is planning to release another CD this year.
"Charlie's family and friends are encouraged that he will be in good hands," reads a statement on his website, "but they definitely covet your prayers."
Listen to the Louvin Brothers' First Hit, 'When I Stop Dreaming'