Opry star George Hamilton IV has died. The singer passed away on Wednesday (Sept. 17) after suffering a heart attack last week. He was 77 years old.

Hamilton began his illustrious career in 1956 with his hit 'A Rose and a Baby Ruth,' sealing his role as a teenage idol. He switched to country music in 1959, under the guidance of Chet Atkins at RCA Records, and became a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 1960.

“It’s been my musical home place which I first started visiting as a teenager," the tunesmith said. "Back then I would regularly catch a Greyhound bus from North Carolina and dream of performing on the Opry."

Hamilton became known as the 'International Ambassador of Country Music' after spending much of the '70s and '80s touring all over the world, including in places like the then-Soviet Union, Australia, the Middle East and Asia, where country artists rarely visited. Hamilton was the first country artist to perform behind the Iron Curtain in 1974, playing in both Czechoslovakia and Russia.

Hamilton's final album, 'In the Heart of Texas,' was released in 2011. He continued to play the Opry, as well as in venues all over the country, up until his death.

Hamilton passed away at Nashville's St. Thomas Midtown Hospital, with his family by his side. Funeral services are pending.

The Boot extends our deepest condolences to his family.

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