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Grammy Award-winning singer B.J. Thomas was pronounced dead today at his home in Arlington, Texas, ending his stage four lung cancer battle.
The country, pop, and gospel singer announced in March that he had been diagnosed with the disease and stated that “I just wanted to take this unique opportunity to share my gratitude to Gloria, my wonderful wife, and my rock for over 53 years, my family, friends, and fans.”
Born with the name Billy Joe Thomas on Aug. 7, 1942, B.J. rose to fame in the late 1960s with hit songs “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” in 1966, which sold over a million copies, and “Mama” which reach all the way to number 22 on the charts.
In 1968 Thomas released “The Eyes of a New York Woman” and “Hooked on a Feeling,” which also sold over a million copies as it shot all the way up to number 5 on the Hot 100 charts. In the same year, Thomas married Gloria Richardson.
In 1969 Thomas topped the pop charts with the Burt Bacharach and Hal David song, “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head.” The song went on to win Bacharach and David an Oscar for the best original song from the movie “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” and became Thomas’ signature recording.
In 1979 Thomas’s gospel rendition of “The Lord’s Prayer” won him the best performance Grammy.
Overall, Thomas received five Grammy Awards and sold more than 70 million albums. He credits his marriage to Richardson as a major turning point in his life. The union helped him overcome substance abuse and lead him to turn his life over to Christ. Thereafter, Thomas prioritized gospel music.
B.J. Thomas leaves behind his wife Gloria, who he was married to for 53 years, and three daughters, four grandchildren.
Written by DiMarkco Chandler
Yahoo!: B.J. Thomas, Grammy-Winning Singer of ‘Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head,’ Dies at 78
The Associated Press: ‘Hooked On A Feeling’ Singer B.J. Thomas Dies At 78
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