Jim Ed Brown, Grand Ole Opry Country Star, Dead at 81

The country music Hall of Famer was diagnosed with lung cancer last year

Last Updated: June 12, 2015 @ 9:14 AM

Jim Ed Brown, a long-time Grand Ole Opry member, died of cancer on Thursday. He was 81.

The country music star passed away at the Williamson Medical Center in Franklin, Tennessee. He will be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame this year.

Brown was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2014. The cancer went into remission in January after treatment but returned more aggressively in recent weeks, reported USAToday.

After he resumed chemotherapy, fellow ountry legend Bill Anderson visited Brown in his hospital room to present him with a Country Music Hall of Fame medallion, five months ahead of the official induction ceremony.

In the mid-1950s, the Arkansas native and his two sisters, Bonnie and Maxie, formed the trio known as The Browns, and had the No. 1 hit “The Three Bells” on both the pop and country charts in 1959, which went on to sell over a million records. The siblings recorded for RCA Records from 1954 to 1967.

Bonnie and Maxine left the group in the mid-1960s and Jim Ed then had a solo career with hits such as “Pop-A-Top Again,” “Morning,” and “Southern Living.” in 1973.

He also sang regularly on the Grand Ole Opry, a live radio show, starting in 1963.

In January, at age 80, Brown proved he was still in fine vocal form when he released his first album in 35 years, “In Style Again,” for Plowboy Records.

Brown leaves behind his wife of 52 years, Becky, and a son and daughter.