B.J. Thomas Dead at 78 After Cancer Battle
Singer B.J. Thomas, who was best known for a string of pop and country hits in the 1960s and '70s, has died. According to his representatives, the 78-year-old died on Saturday (May 29) after battling lung cancer.
The news comes after the pop, country and gospel singer revealed he had been diagnosed with Stage Four lung cancer on March 23. Thomas asked for prayers in a message that also expressed gratitude for the decades-long career that he'd enjoyed.
“I just wanted to take this unique opportunity to share my gratitude to Gloria, my wonderful wife and my rock for over 53 years, my family, friends, and fans," Thomas said. "I’m so blessed to have had the opportunity to record and perform beautiful songs in pop, country, and gospel music, and to share those wonderful songs and memories around the world with millions of you. I ask all of you for your prayers during this time and that my music can live on with you.”
The singer scored a run of pop and country hits in the late '60s and the 1970s that include "Hooked on a Feeling," "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head," "I Just Can't Help Believing," "(Hey Won't You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song" and more. He continued to record and perform into his later years.
While Thomas earned most of his commercial success from country and pop hits, his later transition into gospel earned him the largest amount of critical acclaim.
"(Hey Won't You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song" was nominated for a CMA Award for Song of the Year in 1975, but Thomas went on to win five Grammy Awards, with three consecutive wins in the Best Inspirational Performance category for "Home Where I Belong"(1978), "Happy Man" (1979) and "You Gave Me Love (When Nobody Gave Me A Prayer)" in 1980.
Thomas also took home a Grammy for Best Gospel Performance, Contemporary or Inspirational for his recording of "The Lord's Prayer" in 1981. He won Best Inspirational Performance again in 1982 for his rendition of "Amazing Grace."
"Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2014.
The award-winning Oklahoma native died at home in Arlington, Texas. He's survived by his wife, their three daughters and four grandchildren. Funeral arrangements are pending and will remain private. In lieu of flowers, donations are being accepted by Mission Arlington, Tarrant Area Food Bank and the SPCA of Texas.