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Tennessee Ernie Ford Treated for Liver Condition at Virginia Hospital

October 5, 1991

RESTON, Va. (AP) _ Country singer Tennessee Ernie Ford was hospitalized in suburban Washington, suffering from what his son described as an advanced liver ailment.

Ford, 72, was listed today in critical but stable condition. Monica Chappell, a spokeswoman for HCA Reston Hospital Center, said early today that Ford’s wife, Beverly, asked that no further information on his condition be released for now.

Ford was hospitalized last Saturday after falling ill at Dulles International Airport. He was en route back to his home in San Francisco following a state dinner at the White House, his son said.

″He is in very grave condition,″ said Bob ″Buck″ Ford, son of the singer who made the million-selling record ″Sixteen Tons″ in 1955 and was star of a nationally televised variety show in the 1950s and 1960s.

″He is being attended to on a 24-hour basis by a team of physicians who are trying to compensate for a very advanced stage of liver disease and dysfunction,″ Buck Ford said.

He said his father had suffered liver trouble for several years.

Known as ″the ol’ peapicker″ and ″ol’ Ern,″ Ford has recorded more than 80 albums over a career spanning half a century.

Hospital spokeswoman Lynda Buckley said Mrs. Ford and other members of his family were by his side.

Buck Ford said that his father felt it was ″quite an honor″ to be invited to a state dinner and has ″known the Bushes for some time.″

″He was thrilled to be there with them,″ he said.

″He has had massive internal hemorrhaging. It has ceased for the present but is closely monitored.″

Ford has one other child, Brion.

″Sixteen ons″ sold 20 million copies worldwide, by Ford’s own reckoning, after becoming a hit in 1955. It was a tribute to blue collar workers, especially coal miners, with lines such as ″I owe my soul to the company store″ and ″another day older and deeper in debt.″

The Bristol, Tenn., native who began his career as a $10-a-week radio announcer in his home town in 1937, is also known for religious music and has sold more than 24 million gospel music albums.

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