Country singer Slim Whitman dies in Orange Park

Published On: Jun 19 2013 09:24:45 AM EDT
Updated On: Jun 19 2013 12:46:02 PM EDT
ORANGE PARK, Fla. -

Ottis Dewey Whitman Jr., known professionally as country and western music singer/songwriter Slim Whitman, died early Wednesday morning at Orange Park Medical Center.

He sold in excess of 120 million records.

Once known as "America's Favorite Folksinger," Whitman was, for the majority of his career, more famous in Europe than in the United States.  He is best remembered for his early-'50s hit singles like "Love Song of the Waterfall" and "Singing Hills."   His "Indian Love Call" saved the world in the film comedy "Mars Attacks!"

Whitman was known for his yodeling abilities and his smooth high octave falsetto, who sang mellow, romantic and clean-cut songs.

Whitman was born in Tampa in either 1923 or 1924, and began his musical career after serving in the Navy during World War II.  He had lived in Middleburg since 1957.

In late January 2008, a false rumor of his death spread through the Internet. Country singer George Hamilton IV even dedicated and sang a hymn in Whitman's honor at a concert appearance.

In 2010, Whitman released the album, "Twilight on the Trail," his first new studio release in 26 years.

Whitman's wife of 67 years Alma "Jerry" Crist Whitman -- a songwriter and embroiderer -- died in 2009 from complications arising from kidney failure. They are survived by a daughter, Sharon, and a son, Byron.

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