Country singer Conway Twitty dies in hospital

SPRINGFIELD (Reuter) - The country and western singer Conway Twitty, whose soulful ballads made him a music legend for nearly 40 years, died at a hospital in Springfield, Missouri yesterday. He was 59.

Twitty, who had more than 50 number one hits in the country music charts, collapsed last night on his tour bus following a performance in nearby Branson, Missouri.

The hospital said his family was with him when he died, but would not reveal the cause of death.

A year ago, Twitty collapsed on stage during a matinee performance in Branson. He said at the time that he fainted because he 'simply got too warm', and dismissed remarks by the theatre manager that he was suffering from diabetes.

Twitty was born Harold Jenkins in Mississippi and raised in Helena, Arkansas. He took his name from two small towns - Conway from Conway, Arkansas, and Twitty from Twitty, Texas.

In the Fifties, he started out as a rock'n'roll singer and his song, 'Lonely Blue Boy', went gold. His first number one country hit was released in 1958 - the ballad 'It's Only Make Believe'. He specialised in ballads of lost love and his biggest hits included 'Tight Fittin' Jeans', 'Hello Darlin' ' and 'After All The Good is Gone'. In the Seventies, he sang a string of hit duets with Loretta Lynn. Twitty was prolific, releasing an average of one album every eight months.

'I pick a song a woman will like for sure,' he once said. 'Women are more sensitive and get the point quicker. I like a song that says things a man wants to say and doesn't know how to say.' Another veteran country singer, Porter Wagoner, described him as a legend. 'We got into the music business about the same time,' he said. 'I first met him when I was playing a club in Minneapolis in 1957. He had a pop song which was a pretty big hit at the time, but he told me he wanted to be a country singer and recording star. He became one of the true legends of our business.

'He had a great ear for songs that were commercial. He'd go through hundreds of songs, looking for a single or numbers for an album.'

Twitty had a strong interest in sport and before he went into show business, was offered a contract with the professional baseball team, the Philadelphia Phillies. Later, he became part owner of the minor league baseball team, the Nashville Sounds.

Twitty once summed up his career: 'I've survived and stayed on top. I worked my way up there and stayed there and I did it without taking dope.'

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: IT Sales Consultant

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...

Recruitment Genius: Works Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Hire Manager - Tool Hire

£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is seeking someone w...

Day In a Page

Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests