If you’ve ever hummed along to the tune, “Rhinestone Cowboy,” you have country legend Glen Campbell to thank for the catchy melody. The singer, who announced he was battling Alzheimer’s disease in 2011, passed away Tuesday at the age of 81.
The same year he publicized his disease, Campbell also chose to go on a farewell tour around the country, charming fans who have been following his music for decades. He rose to fame in the 1970s with hits like “Gentle on My Mind” and “Southern Nights,” of often collaborating with country greats like Emmylou Harris, Tanya Tucker and more.
The winner of 8 Grammy Awards sold more than 50 million records and was one of the most beloved country music singers of all time. His descension into Alzheimer’s was heartbreaking for fans — and especially his family, whom he was reportedly close with.
In 2014, a documentary about Campell’s life, “I’ll Be Me” was released, showing his rise to fame and raw battle with the disease that ultimately took his life. The documentary also follows his unforgettable 2011 goodbye tour, which many classified as brave in the face of his diagnosis. In the video, you can see attendees of the tour included the likes of Bruce Springsteen and Paul McCartney.
Campbell’s daughter Ashley posted a heartfelt photo saying goodbye on Instagram yesterday:
It’s clear the country music community — and the music world as a whole — has lost a friend, father and role model this week.