Country legend Roy Clark - the Grammy victor, Grand Ole Opry member, Country Music Hall of Fame inductee, and seven-time Country Music Association Awards recipient known for his guitar-picking virtuosity and longtime stint on the beloved country variety show Hee Haw - has died at age 85.
The cause was complications of pneumonia, according to a statement from his publicists, Sandy Brokaw and Jeremy Westby.
Clark served as co-host of Hee Haw in all three of its incarnations; the series began on CBS in 1969, then transitioned to first-run syndication in 1971, where it ran through 1993. His most notable co-host was fellow country musician Buck Owens, but while Owens left the show in 1986, Clark stayed on until the end.
"'Hee Haw' won't go away".
And of course, he also was a member of the Grand Ole Opry.
His hits include songs like "Come Live With Me", "The Tips of My Fingers" and "Yesterday When I Was Young".
But Clark was a country star in his own right, and an incredibly accomplished (and often underrated) musician who earned acclaim for his hit instrumental versions of "Malaguena" and "Ghost Riders in the Sky".
The first instruments little Roy learned at an early age were the banjo and mandolin, but it was the guitar strings that touched his soul.
Roy Clark performs after being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tenn.
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Roy Clark and Brad Paisley perform onstage at the 50th annual CMA Awards at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn., on November 2, 2016.
He was a touring artist as late as the 2000s.
But it was the guitar that gave Clark his career. In 1960, he got the chance to front the band of country singer Wanda Jackson.
Raised in Washington, he performed with jazz, rock and so-called "hillbilly" groups at local clubs, and appeared on singer Jimmy Dean's country television show before being fired for habitual tardiness, according to a 1984 account in The Washington Post. He got his first recording contract, with Capitol Records, in 1962.
In 1997 he released 'Roy Clark's Christmas Memories'.
Clark and Owens worked together for years, but they had very different feelings about "Hee Haw".
"We became a part of the family". Clark told The Associated Press in 2004 that "Hee Haw" was like a family reunion.
One of the legends of country music, guitarist and singer Roy Clark, has died. This put my face and name together'.