Blake Shelton's father, Dick Shelton, died in Oklahoma on January 17th. In December of last year, Blake dedicated his win at the American Country Awards to his father, who was hospitalized that night with pneumonia.
Bluegrass legend Earl Scruggs died on March 28th at a Nashville hospital of natural causes. He was 88. Earl is known for creating the modern banjo sound, known around the world as "the Scruggs picking style." Some of Earl's best known recordings include "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" and "The Ballad of Jed Clampett" from the TV show The Beverly Hillbillies.
Bluegrass guitar legend Doc Watson died on May 29th at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina at the age of 89. Blind since the age of one, Doc created a unique flat-picking style of playing guitar that helped changed the instrument's role in both bluegrass and country music.
The "Queen of Country Music," Kitty Wells, died on July 16th in Nashville at the age of 92 after complications from a stroke. Kitty, who was born Ellen Muriel Deason, was the first woman to reach Number One on the country charts with her 1952 hit, "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels." It held the top spot for six weeks and was the first of 33 Top 10 hits for Kitty through 1965.
Because Brad Paisley featured him in his hit "Waiting On A Woman," Andy Griffith died on July 3, 2012 at 86 of a heart attack. Andy was best known for the Andy Griffith Show from 1960-1968 and Matlock from 1986-1995. Andy was also a Grammy Award-winning Southern-gospel singer.