Country Music Hall of Fame member and country music legend Ray Price, 87, plans to leave East Texas Medical Center in Tyler on Thursday to go to his home in Mount Pleasant where he will be provided with hospice care.
Price, who is best known for his country classics, including Release Me, Crazy Arms and For the Good Times, has been battling pancreatic cancer since 2011. Since then, the disease has spread to his liver, intestines and lungs, even with aggressive treatment. Price and his wife, Janie, who have been married for 45 years, made the decision not to pursue further aggressive treatment for the cancer.
"Ray is alert and aware of his surroundings and making decisions," said Janie. "With God's blessing he has not had extreme pain. But it's with great sadness that I announce to you today that my beloved husband has entered the final stages of his cancer that he has battled for 25 months. Anyone who knows Ray is aware that he has strong convictions and great faith in God. It's his decision to leave the hospital and return home to spend his final days on his beloved ranch surrounded by the comfort of his home, family and friends."
In a final message to his fans, Price said, "I love my fans and have devoted my life to reaching out to them. I appreciate their support all these years and I hope I haven't let them down. I am at peace. I love Jesus. I'm going to be just fine. Don't worry about me. I'll see you again one day."
Janie thanked Price's fans and said that fans may leave them a note on their Facebook page or by sending a card to:
Ray Price, P.O. Box 1986, Mt. Pleasant, TX 75456.
Price has earned numerous accolades throughout his career, including 62 albums that earned Academy of Country Music, Country Music Association and Grammy Awards. In 1996, he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Born on Jan. 12, 1926 in Perryville, TX, Price attended North Texas Agricultural College before leaving school to join the Marines in 1942. Returning home in 1946 after World War II, Price went back to college for a short time while performing at local clubs and honky-tonks. Three years later, he decided to make music his full-time career and never looked back.
In 1953, Price formed his band The Cherokee Cowboys. Many talented musicians began their careers with the band, including Willie Nelson, Johnny Paycheck, Roger Miller, Johnny Bush and Buddy Emmons.
Price is an advocate for true country music, which he believes is "something for the people."
"It's story songs," he said.
Price, known as the "Cherokee Cowboy," performed on the CMA Awards, The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, Dean Martin, Marty Stuart and a variety of other television shows. He performed his last show in May. Price has a new CD coming out and several tribute shows are already being planned to celebrate his career, including one in Nashville on Feb. 12.
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