Award-winning country artist and songwriter Jeff Carson has died. According to a release from Carson's publicist, the Tulsa, Okla. native died of a heart attack at Williamson Medical Center in Franklin, Tenn. at the age of 58.

Born on Dec. 16, 1963, Carson began playing music at an early age, often singing at his local church. After relocating to Arkansas and forming his first band, Carson moved on to Branson, Mo. where he honed his talents as singer-songwriter. He took his chances on launching a major music career and moved to Nashville, where he recorded demos of songs that would become major country hits in the 90s, including Faith Hill's "It Matters to Me," Tracy Lawrence's "I See it Now" and Reba McEntire's "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter." In 1994, record producer Chuck Howard noticed Carson's talent as a solo artist and helped him secure a deal with Curb Records.

He released his self-titled debut record in 1994 and charted on country radio for the first time with his song "Yeah Buddy." His follow-up single, "Not On Your Love," became a breakout hit for Carson, hitting No. 1 on the country charts later that year. His next two singles from the record, "The Car" and "Holdin' Onto Somethin'," also became Top 10 hits. "The Car" was named Video of the Year at the 1996 Academy of Country Music Awards, marking Carson's only career win at the ACMs.

Carson went on to release two more albums, 1997's Butterfly Kisses and 2001's Real Life. Over the course of his career, he charted 14 singles on the country charts, with the most recent being his 2013 cover of MercyMe's hit Christian pop single "I Can Only Imagine."

In 2009, Carson stepped away from music to join the Franklin Police Department in Williamson County, Tenn. and continued to work there until his passing. He had recently signed a new record deal and was in the process of finishing a new album that was set to include duets with Michael Ray, Darryl Worley, Mark Wills and Craig Morgan.

Jeff Carson is survived by his wife Kim Cooper Carson, son Dayton Grei Herndon Carson, mother Virginia Norton, brother Steve Herndon, sister Karen Spurlock, as well as aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews.

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