Jim Ed Brown Loses His Battle With Lung Cancer
Grand Ole Opry member Jim Ed Brown died Thursday (June 11) at Williamson Medical Center in Franklin, Tenn., after battling lung cancer. He was 81 years old.
Brown began canceling shows last fall before announcing that he was diagnosed with lung cancer. He returned to the stage in January after his cancer went into remission and the singer was pronounced cancer free in April. Sadly, the singer's cancer returned at the beginning of June. According to a press release, Brown "died at peace with himself and with his place in country music."
Brown got his start in country music in the mid-1950s as a member of the Browns, a trio with his sisters Bonnie and Maxine Brown. The sibling group disbanded in 1967, but Brown had already started a solo career, putting out songs like "Pop a Top," "Morning" and "Southern Loving."
As a solo artist, Brown was a member of the Grand Ole Opry for over 50 years. He was inducted a second time in 1963 with his sisters.
"I remember the first time I walked on that stage. Maxine and I were just a duet at the time, and we walked on that stage and did ‘Looking Back to See,’" Brown told The Boot in January. "Ernest Tubb introduced us at the time. I remember my knees were shaking. I don’t remember what I said. I don’t even remember if I sang the song, but I guess I did. You know, standing backstage and looking at all of these great entertainers … Lord, I was only 19 years old; I was just a young kid, you know, but what a thrill that was."
Through his disease, Brown was grateful for the support of his fans, who we took to calling his "prayer warriors."
"If there’s anything I can say to my fans at all — I’ve got a stack of get well cards at least a foot high here. It’s terrible whenever you have to get sick to find out who all your friends are!" he said. "I’ve got an awful lot of prayer warriors out there, and I know that God has got to be listening to them because He sure is helping me get through this, and if there was any way that I could thank them all, golly, I would, but I don’t know how to do that. Just let them know that I still love them."
Brown released his final album, In Style Again -- his first in 30 years -- on Jan. 20. The project is available for purchase on iTunes. He and his sisters are slated to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame this year.
Country Stars Who Died in 2014