West Virginia native and country music legend "Little" Jimmy Dickens has died at the age of 94. According to a press release from The Grand Ole Opry, Dickens passed away Friday afternoon as a result of cardiac arrest following a stroke he suffered on Christmas Day.
Born in Bolt, West Virginia on December 19, 1920, Dickens would go on to be the longest running member of The Grand Ole Opry. He first performed on the show in 1948 and last played on December 20, 2014--just a day after his 94th birthday.
"The Grand Ole Opry did not have a better friend than Little Jimmy Dickens,” said Pete Fisher, Opry Vice President & General Manager through a news release on the show's website Friday evening. “He loved the audience and his Opry family, and all of us loved him back. He was a one-of-kind entertainer and a great soul whose spirit will live on for years to come."
Dickens was well known for his diminutive size, rhinestone suits, 10-gallon hats - and ZANY novelty songs. Some of those included “Take an Old Cold Tater and Wait,” and “May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose.”
He was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1983 and inducted into the first class of the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame in 2007.
You can watch a West Virginia Public Broadcasting interview with Dickens from his West Virginia Music Hall of Fame induction below:
Country music icons, including fellow West Virginia native Brad Paisley, shared their thoughts on the loss of Dickens on social media as news of his passing began to spread:
It is with a heavy heart that I say goodbye to my hero and friend today. I loved you Jimmy.
— Brad Paisley (@BradPaisley) January 3, 2015