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RIP

Glen Campbell Dead at 81 After Alzheimer's Battle

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Glen Campbell has died. The country legend was 81.

Campbell died Tuesday in Nashville, his family confirmed in a statement posted to his website.

“It is with the heaviest of hearts that we announce the passing of our beloved husband, father, grandfather, and legendary singer and guitarist, Glen Travis Campbell, at the age of 81, following his long and courageous battle with Alzheimer’s disease … In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Glen Campbell Memorial Fund at BrightFocus Foundation through the CareLiving.org donation page.”

The family adds, “A personal statement from Kim Campbell will follow. The family appreciates your prayers and respect for their privacy at this time.”

Steve Silvas

Born April 22, 1936 in Billstown, Arkansas, the singer released more than 70 albums, sold over 45 million records, was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and won 10 Grammy Awards as well as 10 Academy of Country Music Awards.

Before hitting it big as a solo recording artist, Campbell was a studio musician in the early ’60s and played on recordings by Dean Martin, Nat King Cole, The Monkees, Merle Haggard, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, and Phil Spector. He even toured as a member of The Beach Boys, filling in for Brian Wilson from late 1964 to March 1965.

In addition to his music credits, Campbell had several acting roles including 1969’s True Grit with John Wayne and 1970’s Norwood with Joe Namath.

Banner Newspaper Archive/Nashville Public Library

Campbell was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in June 2011. The Grammy-winner, whose “Rhinestone Cowboy” topped the charts in 1975, had been suffering from short-term memory loss for years, but the Alzheimer’s diagnosis was confirmed in early 2011.

Living full-time at a Nashville memory-care facility located minutes from the Campbell’s home, Glen was cared for by a family friend and personal sitter named Brody along with his main caregiver and wife Kim, who visited him daily.

“He still has the same essence. He still has the same twinkle in his eye. He has the same chuckle, and he’s still an entertainer,” his wife told PEOPLE in June 2015 about how Campbell could rarely recognize his loved ones and could no longer play music or carry a conversation.

Matt Sayles/AP

Campbell’s work of raising awareness of Alzheimer’s was highlighted in his 2015 documentary Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me, which followed the singer and his family on his 2011 tour as his memory declined.

Universal released the singer’s final studio album, Adiós, on June 9. The 12-track compilation was recorded in 2012 in Nashville in the middle of his Goodbye TourAdiós features Glen singing four Jimmy Webb songs he never recorded but always loved, including the title track. Other songwriters on the album include Roger Miller, Bob Dylan, Dickey Lee, Jerry Reed, Carl Jackson, Fred Neil, and Willie Nelson who duets with Campbell on the poignant single, “Funny How Time Slips Away.” 

Campbell is survived by his wife of 35 years Kim, daughters Ashley, Debbie and Kelli and sons Cal, Dylan, Kane, Shannon and Travis.

TMZ was first to report the news.