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50-year Opry member George Hamilton IV dies

September 18, 2014

NASHVILLE, Tennessee (AP) — Grand Ole Opry Member George Hamilton IV, who was one of country music’s first international ambassadors, has died. He was 77.

A news release from the Opry says Hamilton died Wednesday at a Nashville hospital after a heart attack.

Hamilton had been an Opry member since 1960, when he made the switch from pop music to country. He said the decision came after catching a performance of the Opry at Ryman Auditorium. Hamilton worked with producer Chet Atkins on a number of hits and scored his first country No. 1 with “Abilene” in 1963.

He brought country music to Russia and the nation then known as Czechoslovakia and recorded the first country album in Eastern Europe. Over the years, he hosted country-themed television shows in Britain and Canada.

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