JOE CARTER, a member of country music's celebrated Carter Family, has died aged 78 after battling pancreatic cancer.

Joe passed away on Wednesday (03MAR05) leaving behind three daughters and seven grandchildren.

He shot to fame in 1932 when he joined his siblings and other relatives in the band his parents AP and SARA formed.

The Carter Family is credited with revolutionising country music in the 1920s and 1930s and influencing artists including Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash and Woody Guthrie.

The Carters have released a statement which reads, "Although the family was aware of the imminence of Joe's death, his passing has deeply affected Janette and the rest of the tightly-knit family."

Joe's niece RITA FORRESTER adds, "They broke the mould when they made my Uncle Joe."

04/03/2005 18:17