American country singer who was popular in the 1950s and a member of the Grand Ole Opry. His 1963 single "Lonesome 7-7203" hit #1 on the US Country charts.
He won a talent competition when he was sixteen and worked on WSAZ-AM and WCHS-AM in the late 1930s. He joined the U.S. Army in 1943 during World War II, during which he was an engineer and sang at local clubs.
He is the inspiration for the 2003 song "Love Never Dies" by Martin Simpson.
He was married to his wife Jean Shepard until his death in 1963 and they had one adopted daughter and two sons. His wife was pregnant with their second son at the time of the aircraft accident that he died in, along with other country music stars Patsy Cline and Cowboy Copras.
He performed his last show with Patsy Cline during a 1963 benefit concert in Kansas City.