Country Music Legend George Jones Dies at 81

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The Country Music Hall of Famer had been hospitalized since April 18 in Nashville.

George Jones, one of the biggest stars in country music, has died. He was 81.

A Country Music Hall of Fame member and Texas native, Jones died while at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, where he had been since April 18 because of blood pressure irregularities and a fever.

Inducted into the hall in 1992, Jones was known for his hard country songs and ability to change with the times, topping charts throughout the second half of the 20th century. His penchant for hard drinking and his four marriages played in with his song's themes, adding to his fame. Some of his biggest hits are "White Lightning," "The Grand Tour," "Golden Ring" and "Why Baby Why."

"He Stopped Loving Her Today," perhaps his best-known song, was a smash hit in 1980. Overall, he charted 160 songs.

Jones had intended to retire in 2013, following a 60-date Grand Tour.

Following news of his death, memories and condolences were posted immediately on Twitter. Read some of the messages below:

We all feel like we've been punched in the gut this morning.”

--Kelly Willis

“George Jones has taken his last lawnmower ride.”

--Patton Oswalt

“The world may have lost the greatest country singer that ever lived.”

--Merle Haggard

“My heart is absolutely broken. George Jones was my all time favorite singer and one of my favorite people in the world.”

--Dolly Parton

“George Jones, you were so much a part of my life that it’s going to be such a different world without you. You were like a comet that was here and changed everything… You are The King Of Broken Hearts and our hearts are broken.”

--Jim Lauderdale

“George Jones' life is an example of so many wonderful things; How someone's God-given gifts can make this a richer, better place. How one human being can overcome adversity, addiction, and life threatening obstacles time and time again. That it is not the stumble or fall that counts, but the willingness to stand again. How a keen sense of humor and a twinkle in a person's eye can still prevail even after all of life's hard knocks. How mistakes, missteps, and bad choices are not the end of the world if a person chooses to turn them into something good. And George's life is above all the strongest example of how the love of a great woman can get a man through anything. All of this made its way beautifully into every note of the greatest voice country music will ever know and one of the greatest friends you could ever have.”

--Brad Paisley

“What a guy. What a voice. That was one hell of a show!”

--Kix Brooks

“Swift and positive rebirth, #georgejones The quintessential country voice. Bourbon and chocolate... I truly am indebted.”

--k.d. lang

“Who's gonna fill his shoes? Nobody… Every serious country artist in the past 30 years has some #georgejones dna in their blood and music. My God. We've lost our Elvis.”

--John Rich

“Man... heartbroken. Nancy and @gjpossum had a beautiful marriage and special relationship... Gonna miss my buddy.”

--Dierks Bentley

“George Jones on every station this morning... the way it always should have been.”

--Shane McAnally

“End of an era. Travel safe, Possum.”

--Roseanne Cash

Twitter: @THRMusic