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This obituary first appeared at Billboard.com.
Phil Everly, who made up one half of iconic rock and country duo The Everly Brothers, has died. He was 74.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the singer passed away Friday in Burbank of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Everly’s wife, Patti, told the Times that the disease was contracted through a lifetime of smoking and that the family was “absolutely heartbroken.” She noted that the vocalist “fought long and hard.”
Along with older brother Don, Phil Everly took The Everly Brothers to the forefront of its peers, first finding success with its self-titled debut album in 1958. The harmonic duo charted 31 singles on the Billboard Hot 100, including 12 top 10 hits. They claimed a No. 1 single with “Cathy’s Clown” in 1960, which spent five weeks atop the chart. The act also was successful on the Hot Country Songs chart, tallying four No. 1 songs, with “Bye Bye Love,” “Wake Up Little Susie,” “All I Have to Do Is Dream” and “Bird Dog.”
Some of The Everly Brothers’ other big hits on the Hot 100 include “Problems” (No. 2 in 1958), “(‘Til) I Kissed You” (No. 4 in 1959) and “Let It Be Me” (No. 7 in 1960).
Billboard recently ranked the duo as the 66th-biggest act in the 55-year history of the Hot 100 chart. They are the chart’s third biggest duo ever, following Hall & Oates and The Carpenters.
The brothers, who did not get along, pursued solo careers beginning in the early ’70s, though Don obtained the lion’s share of the chart success at first. However, the younger Everly did end up finding success with his 1983 self-titled release in the U.K., hitting the country’s top 10 with “She Means Nothing to Me.” They reunited in the early 1980s.
In 1986, the duo were among the 10 inductees in the inaugural class of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and joined the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001.
In addition to his wife, Everly is survived by his brother, 76, two sons and two granddaughters.
Additional reporting by Keith Caulfield.
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