Country songwriter Jimbeau Hinson, who wrote classic hit country songs for the Oak Ridge Boys, David Lee Murphy and more, has died.

According to a press release, Hinson died on Friday (March 4) at the age of 70 after battling numerous health challenges.

Hinson was born and raised in Newton, Miss., and he launched his professional songwriting career when Loretta Lynn brought him to Nashville to sign a publishing contract with the Wilburn Brothers at the tender age of 16. His first big commercial success as a songwriter came in 1969 with "Sugar in the Flowers" by Anthony Armstrong Jones, which landed Hinson his first ASCAP Award at the age of 18.

Hinson's long and varied career as a songwriter includes hits and album tracks recorded by the Oak Ridge Boys ("Fancy Free," "Let Me Be the One," "When You Give It Away," "Colors"), Kathy Mattea ("Train of Memories"), David Lee Murphy ("Party Crowd"), Patty Loveless ("I'm on Your Side," "After All"), John Conlee ("Harmony"), Steve Earle ("Hillbilly Highway," "Down the Road") and more. His childhood idol, Brenda Lee, recorded "Find Yourself Another Puppet," which landed Hinson his second ASCAP Award.

Lee also recorded "Broken Trust" which scored a Top 10 hit in 1980. Other artists who recorded Hinson's songs include Carol Channing, Reba McEntire, Tammy Wynette, Tracy Lawrence, Ricky Skaggs, Connie Smith, Rodney Crowell, the Goldens, Ty Herndon, Lee Greenwood and Rhonda Vincent, among many others.

Hinson was open about the fact that he'd been living with HIV for decades, which was the subject matter of much of his 2013 solo album, Strong Medicine. That album also chronicled his relationship with his wife Brenda, to whom he'd been married for 42 years at the time of his death.

Hinson also served as a mentor to a number of young writers, including Frankie Ballard, JT Hodges and Keith Urban. At the time of his death, he was working on an autobiography titled The All of Everything in the Life and Times of Jimbeau Hinson.

His unusual story also inspired a documentary titled Beautiful Jim, a Rex Jones film that was part of the Southern Documentary Project at the University of Mississippi and proved an audience favorite at the 2014 Nashville Film Festival, among others.

Hinson underwent quadruple bypass heart surgery in July of 2021, which resulted in him suffering a stroke. He largely recovered before suffering a second stroke in recent weeks, after which he started into a health decline that led to his death.

The songwriter is survived by his wife, Brenda Fielder, sisters Cindee Sorrels of Nashville, Tenn., and Beth Allgood of Decatur, Miss., and brother Mike Hinson of Hickory, Miss., as well as several nieces and nephews. A celebration of life ceremony is in the planning stages and will be revealed at a later date.

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May they rest in peace ...

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