George Hamilton IV dead: Veteran country singer died, age 77

The musician is responsible for helping bring country music to an international stage

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The Independent Online

US country singer George Hamilton IV has died, aged 77, following a major heart attack at the weekend.

He passed away in Nashville, Tennessee.

Born in North Carolina, Hamilton started his career in pop in the Fifties with a US top five hit called A Rose and A Baby Ruth. He went on to tour with Buddy Holly and the Everly Brothers.

However, under the mentorship of US guitarist and producer Chet Atkins, he later made his move into country music, becoming an international bastion of the genre.

He brought the music of Nashville to a global stage and became the first country musician to perform in the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia. He played in the UK in 1967.

In 1960, he was inducted into into Nashville's Grand Old Opry.

However, his latest album made in 2010 had a gospel influence, featuring a host of guest artists.

Hamilton also ventured onto the stage world in 1990, playing the narrator in a production of Pasty Cline The Musical for five years.

He was a huge fan of Scotland and visited the country on numerous occasions. In 2004, he produced an album called Hamilton's Other Country.

Hamilton is survived by his wife Tinky, two sons George V and Peyton and daughter Mary.