Adding to TODAY’s (9/8) tragic loss of TROY GENTRY, there was earlier news that Country music legend DON WILLIAMS, 2010 inductee to the COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF FAME, had died following a short illness. He was 78. The TEXAS native, often referred to as “The Gentle Giant,” turned out a string of hits that includes “TULSA Time,” “She Never Knew Me,” “It Must Be Love,” “I Believe In You,” and more beginning in the 1970s and running through the 80s and 90s.

COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF FAME CEO KYLE YOUNG issued an official statement following WILLIAMS’ passing, saying: “In giving voice to songs like ‘Good Ole Boys Like Me,’ ‘Lord, I Hope This Day Is Good,’ and ‘Amanda,’ DON WILLIAMS offered calm, beauty, and a sense of wistful peace that is in short supply these days. His music will forever be a balm in troublesome times. Everyone who makes country music with grace, intelligence, and ageless intent will do so while standing on the shoulders of this gentle giant.” Arrangements are currently pending.