Following more than a day of speculation as to the health of country icon Ray Price, his family confirmed Monday evening that the renowned vocalist had passed away. It had been previously reported on Sunday evening by the star's son that he had passed away from pancreatic cancer, but that turned out to be untrue. The current report has been confirmed by Price's wife, Janie. Price had been under hospice care at his home in Mt. Pleasant, TX, because of the cancer. He was 87 years old.
His age hadn't stopped him from maintaining a presence in the country scene however. He took to the road on a major tour as recently as 2007, traveling with Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard as part of the "The Last of The Breed" tour. He continued to perform onstage in the year's after as well.
"I just like what I've done and how it's worked out, and it's been great," he told Rolling Stone just earlier this month, in his final interview. "I haven't lost my voice, thank God for that."
His baritone was certainly one of his hallmarks within the genre, but Price brought a number of other influences to country music as well. He was one of the first performers to incorporate drums at the Grand Ole Opry. By taking that instrument and combining it with a 4/4 rhythm and walking bassline, Price developed his signature style: the "Ray Price Shuffle," which was featured in hits such as "Crazy Arms."
The good news for country music fans is that Price seems to have left one last album of originals, although details are sparse. During his last interview with Rolling Stone, he told the magazine that he had 12 news songs that he considers among the best of his career, although no title or release date has been hinted at yet.