Grammy Award winning country music artist Jo-El Sonnier died Saturday at the age of 77, shortly after doing what he loved the most — performing for a live audience.
“Jo-El Sonnier had just completed an incredible show at the Llano Country Opry in Llano, Texas,” Tracy Pitcox of Heart of Texas Records, Knel Radio, said in a statement posted to Facebook. “He had entertained over an hour and ended with his signature ‘Tear Stained Letter’. He received a standing ovation and I asked him to do ‘Jambalaya’ as an encore.”
Pitcox provided more information about Sonnier’s final moments.
“He performed a rousing rendition of that classic. Jo-El mentioned that he needed to rest for just a few minutes before signing autographs,” she said. “Unfortunately, he suffered cardiac arrest and was air flighted to Austin where he was pronounced deceased.”
“It is never easy to lose a legend, but he truly spent his final day doing what he loved-entertaining his fans with his loving wife Bobbye by his side,” she wrote in her statement.
Sonnier was a natural-born talent. His musical skills were prevalent at a young age, when he began to play his brother’s accordion by the age of three, according to Pitcox. She said his first radio performance came at the age of six, and his first recordings date back to age 11. She added that he released a number of singles and four albums in his teenage years.
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