NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Charlie Louvin, half of the Louvin Brothers duo whose harmonies inspired fellow country and pop singers for decades, died early Wednesday (Jan. 26, 2011) due to complications from pancreatic cancer. He was 83.
Brett Steele, his manager, said the Country Music Hall of Fame singer died at his home in Wartrace, Tenn. Mr. Louvin will have a private funeral Sunday in Nashville, Steele said.
Mr. Louvin was diagnosed with cancer last year and vowed to fight it. He underwent unsuccessful surgery to remove the tumor, but continued to schedule performances and even put out an album. He was one of several stars invited to a welcome home performance of the Grand Ole Opry last year after floods damaged the Opry house.
"I'm not afraid of dying," Mr. Louvin told the Associated Press last year, a few days after the diagnosis. "We're all going to do that. And I've had 83 years of almost uninterrupted good health, so I know that's not by accident. So I've been blessed that long, and I could use a couple more."
The unique sound of Charlie and his brother Ira was highly influential in the history of both country and rock, and they were inducted into the hall in 2001.
Among their hits were I Don't Believe You've Met My Baby, which was No. 1 in 1956, When I Stop Dreaming, Hoping That You're Hoping, and You're Running Wild.
The brothers decided to disband their duo in 1963. Ira died in a Missouri car accident two years later. Charlie Louvin recorded regularly after his brother's death, most recently releasing The Battle Rages On, a collection of war songs, last winter. His biggest solo hits were See the Big Man Cry in 1965 and I Don't Love You Anymore in 1964.
The Louvins influenced harmony acts from the Everly Brothers onward. Emmylou Harris had a hit with their If I Could Only Win Your Love in 1975. The Notting Hillbillies recorded the Louvins' Weapon of Prayer in 1990.
A complete song, Mr. Louvin recalled, would "come to him like God, like he was reading it off of another piece of paper. … He was nice enough to put my name on the songs also."