Country and pop singer Billy Joe Royal has died. The artist passed away in his sleep on Tuesday (Oct. 6). He was 73.

Royal was born on April 3, 1943, in Valdosta, Ga., and raised in Marietta, Ga. He became a local star in Savannah, Ga., in the '50s and '60s, then released his debut album, Down in the Boondocks, on Columbia Records in 1965; the album's title track was a Top 10 hit on the pop charts in that same year.

Shaver enjoyed a resurgence of popularity in country music in the late 1980s, earning 13 Top 40 singles on the country charts between 1985 and 1991. He continued to tour throughout the '90s and '00s. Royal’s final album was 2009's His First Gospel Album.

Singer Ronnie McDowell confirmed the news of Royal's death, which occurred at his North Carolina home, to Nashville's WSMV-TV. The two were scheduled to go on tour together in November.

"He was a sweet and talented man," tweeted singer BJ Thomas. "Never a bad word. One of a kind."

Funeral arrangements for Royal have not yet been announced.

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