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Songwriter Hank Cochran, whose timeless tunes were cut by Patsy Cline, Eddy Arnold, George Strait and many others, died Thursday, July 15, after a bout with pancreatic cancer at age 74 at his home in Hendersonville, Tenn.
Hank's immortal cuts included "The Chair" by George Strait, Eddy Arnold's "Make the World Go Away" and Patsy Cline's classics "I Fall to Pieces" and "She's Got You."
Hank was born Aug. 2, 1935, in Isola, Miss., and spent part of his childhood in a Memphis orphanage. He had several songs published by Pamper Music while living in California and moved to Nashville in 1959 to write songs for the Music City arm of Pamper. His 1962 song "Funny Way of Laughin’" won a Grammy award for Burl Ives, while Jeannie Seely won a 1966 Grammy for Hank's "Don't Touch Me." Hank and Jeannie were married from 1969 to 1979.
Over the years, Hank wrote with such stalwarts as Harlan Howard, Willie Nelson, Dean Dillon and others. His song, "The Chair," which he wrote with Dean, was recently featured in the July 19 issue of Country Weekly. Hank discussed the story behind the song, corresponding with Country Weekly through e-mail because of his failing health. Hank was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) Hall of Fame in 1974 and was honored by BMI in June of 2009 for his career accomplishments.
The night of July 14, Jamey Johnson, Billy Ray Cyrus and producer Buddy Cannon stopped by Hank's home to sing songs with Hank. Joe Bonsall of the Oak Ridge Boys was among the first to pay tribute to the great songwriter. "We lost a neighbor today," Joe said in a statement. "I did not know Hank as well as the other guys, but I loved and respected him. May God bless his family at this time of loss."
A private family memorial is being planned and details on Hank's funeral are forthcoming. For more on Hank's legendary life and career, check out the Aug. 9 issue of Country Weekly, on sale Aug. 2.