Country star Don Williams dies at age 78

Country icon Don Williams died on Friday (Sept. 8) after battling a short illness. He was 78.

The Texas native, known for his pioneering organic country sound, learned guitar as a teenager and soon after formed the trio The Pozo Seco Singers. After seven years with the band, Williams headed to Nashville where he got his feet wet writing songs for a publishing company owned by "cowboy" Jack Clement. He soon after nabbed a record deal with JMI Records, through which he debuted his mellow take on country with his 1973 breakthrough hit “The Shelter of Your Eyes." He went on to become a radio-regular with a chain of country hits including “Tulsa Time,” “She Never Knew Me," “It Must Be Love” and “One Good Well.”

The soft-spoken singer became a global superstar and was named Male Vocalist of the Year by the Country Music Association in 1978. 

Within the current decade, Williams made a return to the music scene with albums And So It Goes (2012) and Reflections (2014), both released via Sugar Hill Records. Williams' final release came in the form of a live CD and DVD recorded in Ireland. After six decades of entertaining, Williams performed his final live show last year. 

"It's time to hang my hat up and enjoy some quiet time at home," the 76-year-old said in a statement at the time. "I'm so thankful for my fans, my friends and my family for their everlasting love and support."

And Williams' fans, friends and family will forever be thankful for the icon's everlasting music. Check out some of Williams' best tunes here