Country star Billy Grammer has died in an Illinois hospital following a long illness. He was 85.
The Grand Ole Opry member launched his music career after a stint in the U.S. Army as a guitarist with Hawkshaw Hawkins and Grandpa Jones and as a band member on Jimmy Dean's TV variety show.
He also became an in-demand session musician before going solo.
Best known for his 1959 hit Gotta Travel On, Grammer charted several other singles, including I Wanna Go Home and Jesus Is a Soul Man.
He also helped design and manufacture his own signature guitar, the Grammer, which became the instrument of choice for country stars like Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard.
Grammer retired from performing in the early 1990s because of health issues. He celebrated his 50th anniversary as a member of country mecca the Grand Ole Opry in February, 2009.
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