George Jones Dead: Country Music Legend Dies At 81

04/26/2013 10:45 am ET | Updated May 03, 2013

Country music legend George Jones has died at the age of 81.

Jones died on Friday after he was hospitalized in Nashville, Tenn., with a fever and irregular blood pressure, according to TMZ. A cause of death has not been identified.

Jones was hospitalized on Thursday, April 18, and had to cancel concerts in Atlanta and Salem, Va., according to Billboard. He was in the middle of his yearlong goodbye tour, which was set to conclude in November in Nashville. Over the last year, he has had to cancel other appearances due to health issues.

A message about Jones' passing was posted on the website of his publicists, Webster & Associates:

Country Music Hall of Famer, Grand Ole Opry member, and Kennedy Center Honoree George Glenn Jones died Friday, April 26, 2013 at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee. He was hospitalized April 18 with fever and irregular blood pressure.

Country music stars expressed grief over the news of Jones' death on Twitter Friday.

Born in Texas in 1931 and earning his first Billboard hit in 1955, Jones had a career that spanned more than four decades -- the 1950s to the 1990s were his prime hit-making years, the Associated Press notes, though he continued to perform up until the present. He inspired the likes of Frank Sinatra, Pete Townshend, Elvis Costello, James Taylor and numerous country artists throughout the years. Some of his biggest hits include "He Stopped Loving Her Today," "Choices" and "Golden Ring."

The singer -- who was known as "the greatest voice in country music" -- became famous for his baritone as much as his hard-partying ways.

He battled alcoholism and drug use in his younger years. His struggle caused him to hit some road bumps in his career, earning him the nickname "No Show" when he was first starting out because he would often skip performances.

In 1999, Jones cheated death after nearly losing his life in a one-car accident in Nashville, E! News previously reported. The accident was allegedly drinking-related.

“I messed up my life way back there, drinking and boozing and all that kind of stuff,” Jones told The Tennessean back in 2008. “And you wish you could just erase it all. You can’t do that, though. You just have to live it down the best you can.”

Jones is survived by his wife, Nancy, and four children.

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