Porter had been under hospice care since Friday, Oct. 26. The legendary star recently celebrated 50 years as a member of the Grand Ole Opry and had released a critically acclaimed album this past year, Wagonmaster, produced by Marty Stuart.
Often known more for his flashy rhinestone suits and magnetic stage presence, Porter was also an accomplished artist with No. 1 hits like “A Satisfied Mind” and “Misery Loves Company.” His syndicated television series in the 1960s and 1970s, The Porter Wagoner Show, introduced audiences to several country stars, who otherwise could not get TV exposure.
Porter’s most famous discovery was Dolly Parton, who was hired as the “girl singer” for his television show and live concerts. Together, Porter and Dolly recorded such famous duets as “The Last Thing on My Mind,” “Just Someone I Used to Know” and “Please Don’t Stop Loving Me.” They won the CMA award in 1968 for Vocal Group of the Year, and the first two CMA Vocal Duo of the Year awards in 1970 and 1971. On his 50th anniversary celebration show at the Grand Ole Opry, Porter introduced Dolly as “one of my best friends today” and cried as she sang “I Will Always Love You,” a song she wrote about their partnership.
“The Grand Ole Opry family is deeply saddened by the news of the passing of our dear friend, Porter Wagoner,” said Pete Fisher, vice president and general manager of the Grand Ole Opry.