Country star Don Williams dead at 78

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Don Williams, an award-winning country singer with love ballads like I Believe in You, has died. He was 78.

A statement from his publicist Kirt Webster said he died Friday after a short illness.

Williams had 17 No. 1 hits before retiring in 2016. His mellow sound influenced a later generation of singers including Joe Nichols and Josh Turner and Keith Urban has said Williams drew him to country music.

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Don WilliamsWilliams, nicknamed “the Gentle Giant,” had a rich voice, gentle delivery and storytelling style. He toured sparingly, did few media interviews and spent much of his time on his farm west of Nashville.

His hits included I Believe in You, Lord, I Hope This Day Is GoodYou’re My Best Friend, Some Broken Hearts Never MendTill the Rivers All Run Dry and Back in My Younger Days. At least one duet with Emmylou Harris made the charts, If I Needed You in 1981.

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