Roni Stoneman, a member of the pioneering country music family the Stonemans and a fixture on the banjo, died on Wednesday (Feb. 21), according to a statement from the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.

She was 85 years old.

According to AllMusic, Roni was born on May 5, 1938, the second-to-youngest of 23 Stoneman children. Her parents, Hattie and Ernest "Pop" Stoneman, had already made a name for themselves as a musical couple before her birth: Pop Stoneman was the first person to record "The Sinking of the Titanic," one of the biggest hits of the 1920s, which was subsequently recorded by Roy Acuff.

Hattie Stoneman was a fiddle player, and the couple incorporated music into their children's lives from the beginning, starting to play as a family band by the mid-1950s. They rose to popularity with appearances across an array of variety television shows, and the Stoneman Family became a popular touring act.

After Pop Stoneman's death in 1968, a number of the Stoneman children, including Roni, continued to tour as the Stoneman Family. By then, Roni was achieving special acclaim as a banjo player, and she began to strike out on her own as a solo performer. In the 1970s, she broke through to a new level of popularity when she joined the cast of the country variety television show Hee Haw.

Roni's move to Hee Haw put her comedic talents — in addition to her musical talents — center stage. As a cast member on the show, she was known for her gap-toothed smile and comedic talents, and also earned the moniker "The First Lady of the Banjo."

Roni continued to perform into her 80s, alongside her sister Donna; they were the last surviving members of the original Stoneman sibling set. According to Banjo NewsLetter, the sister duo were performing as recently as 2020.

No cause of death for Roni was immediately available, and no funeral information has been publicly announced.

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