George Jones Dead at 81

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According to our sister paper The City Paper, legendary country singer George Jones died Friday morning at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He was 81. This comes after news of Jones' recent hospitalization due to fever and irregular blood pressure.

Jones — known as "No Show" for his onetime tendency for frequent show cancellations and as "The Possum" because, well, he looked a bit like a possum — began suffering with complications due to an upper respiratory infection last year. Nevertheless, the "He Stopped Loving Her Today" singer had recently scheduled a 60-date farewell tour that was to conclude with one last show at Nashville's own Bridgestone Arena on Nov. 22.

Almost as much as for his critically acclaimed music, Jones was of course known throughout much of his life for his hard-partying ways. "In the 1970s, I was drunk the majority of the time," Jones wrote in his 1996 memoir I Lived to Tell it All. "If you saw me sober, chances are you saw me asleep." His 1983 marriage to Nancy Sepulvada, however — which came eight years after Jones' divorce from the iconic Tammy Wynette — is often credited as the impetus for Jones cleaning up his act.

Jones was an innovator in the world of country music, and his high-times-low-times formula for both songwriting and life have been emulated by by many but successfully replicated by none. Rest in peace, Possum. You were one of a kind.

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