Country singer/songwriter June Carter Cash, the wife of Johnny Cash, died in Nashville yesterday (May 15) after complications from heart surgery. She was 73.
“She passed away this evening at 5:04 p.m. CT (6:04 p.m. ET),” said Jennifer Jackson, director of public relations at Baptist Hospital, where Cash had undergone heart surgery on May 7.
Her family, including her husband, was at her side, Jackson said. The funeral will be private, she said later, adding that no additional details would be released.
Cash — the daughter of country music pioneer Maybelle Carter, mother of Carlene Carter and stepmother of Rosanne Cash, also country singers — co-wrote “Ring of Fire,” a No. 1 country hit for Johnny Cash in 1963. They were married five years later, and their union was one of the strongest in the entertainment business.
“She’s a soft, fluffy Mama Bear,” Johnny Cash, 71, wrote in the liner notes of his newest album, “The Man Comes Around.” He has suffered from poor health in recent years including diabetes, glaucoma, asthma and pneumonia.
The couple toured and recorded together for more than 40 years. They shared two Grammys in the 1960s for their renditions of “Jackson” and “If I Were A Carpenter.” She won a trophy in her own right in 2000 for her acclaimed solo album “Press On” (Risk/Dualtone).
A witty raconteur, June Carter Cash dabbled in acting, notably playing Robert Duvall’s mother in the 1997 film “The Apostle.” She would wryly note that in real life, she was only 18 months Duvall’s senior. She also appeared a few times in “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman,” a TV series starring family friend Jane Seymour.
Cash’s mother, Maybelle Carter, formed one-third of the Carter Family, one of country music’s first superstar acts. As a young girl, she toured America with her mother and sisters, Helen and Anita.
In addition to her husband and Carlene Carter, she is survived by another daughter, Rosie, as well as her sole child with Cash, John Carter Cash.
— Dean Goodman, L.A.
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