Country crooner Hal Ketchum has died at the age of 67 from complications related to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
His wife Andrea announced his passing on Facebook Tuesday. “With great sadness and grief we announce that Hal passed away peacefully last night at home due to complications of Dementia,” she posted. “May his music live on forever in your hearts and bring you peace.”
In 2019, Andrea announced Ketchum, who was best known for his hits “Small Town Saturday Night” and “Hearts Are Gonna Roll,” was retiring from touring.
“Unfortunately, Hal is suffering from Alzheimer’s/ Dementia. He has been battling this for some time now, but because of his love for his fans, he continued performing as long as it was possible,” she wrote.
“Dementia is an exhausting and confusing illness and now it’s time for Hal to stay home with loved ones. Hal is otherwise healthy and happy, enjoying time with his family and friends,” she said. “We all deeply appreciate how much love that you all have for Hal and how much his music means to you!”
Ketchum was a life-long country fan, who started playing the drums as teenager before switching to the guitar. He toiled as a carpenter for twenty years before breaking into the Austin music scene 1981 and releasing his first album Threadbare Alibis in 1986.
In 1991, Ketchum scored his first hit “Small Town Saturday Night,” which propelled his album Past the Point of Rescue to gold status. He went on to record smash singles “Mama Knows the Highway,” “Sure Love,” and “Hearts are Gonna Roll.” He was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 1994.