Family, friends, and fans of George Jones will be able to say goodbye Thursday when the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville holds a public funeral for the country music legend.
"George would have wanted his fans and friends to be able to come and pay their respects along with his family," publicist Kirt Webster said in a statement announcing the decision Sunday. There also will be a private visitation on Wednesday night for family, friends, and fellow performers, Webster said.
Jones, who had been a member of the Grand Ole Opry since 1956, died Friday at age 81. He had been hospitalized the week before
with a fever and irregular blood pressure.
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With five No. 1 hits spread over five decades, 1950s to 1990s, and 150 albums, Jones was idolized by the likes of Frank Sinatra, Pete Townshend, Elvis Costello, and James Taylor, along with scores of country music greats who looked up to him. Sinatra once called him "the second greatest singer in America." Keith Richards called him "a national treasure."
A two-time Grammy winner perhaps best known for his heartbreaking hit "He Stopped Loving Her Today," Jones was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1992, was a Kennedy Center Honoree in 2008, and received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award last year.
He was in the process of ending his seven-decade career Grand Tour, with his final Nashville concert planned for November.
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The funeral is scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday. In lieu of flowers, the family is asking that contributions be made to the Grand Ole Opry trust fund or the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
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