How Did George Jones Die? We’ll Never Stop Loving Him

how did george jones die?
George Jones performing at Harrah's Metropolis in Metropolis, Illinois in June 2002. Image is in Public Domain

Last updated on June 1st, 2023 at 09:31 pm

George Jones is a country music icon with 60 years’ worth of music that fans worldwide still enjoy today. Earning names such as “Possum,” “The Rolls-Royce of Country Music,” and “King George,” he is still one of the most recognized names by any true lover of country music and pure honky-tonk. Even new country artists from Jason Aldean to Lady A and Carrie Underwood have talked of his legacy.

That’s why, just like with any icon, it broke the hearts of many when he passed away, but his legacy lives on in country music history, and we have no doubt why.

How did George Jones die? Find out that and more about our favorite country singer below.  

How Did George Jones Die?

What was George Jones’ official cause of death? The country icon died of hypoxic respiratory failure.

This condition happens when the body no longer has enough oxygen to maintain essential functions. This may occur due to insufficient blood supply or low blood oxygen levels.

Leading up to his death, Jones was hospitalized several times for various reasons, including respiratory problems.

Did George Jones Have Dementia?

In the last years of his life, George Jones did live with Lewy Body Dementia, which affects a person’s thinking, behavior, mood, and movement. It is considered to be a spectrum of Parkinson’s disease.  

geroge jones grave
Image of George Jones’ Grave. Image by Katie Peterson.

When Did George Jones Die?

George Jones died on Apr. 26, 2013.

How Old Was George Jones When He Died?

George Jones was only 81 years old when he passed away.

George Jones’ Funeral

Because of his beloved fan base built throughout his career, George Jones fans were given one final farewell gift as they were able to watch his funeral broadcast live from the home of country music, the Grand Ole Opry, which took place on May 2, 2013.

The funeral was packed with stars and famous faces as he was eulogized by former First Lady Laura Bush, then-Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, and more. Several fellow country music stars sang in honor of their hero, including Vince Gill, Alan Jackson, Randy Travis, and more.

All contributions made in Jones’ memory were given to the Grand Ole Opry Trust Fund or the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.

Related: 25 Best Alan Jackson Songs: Classics from a Country Legend

Where is George Jones Buried?

George Jones is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in Nashville.

george james mausoleum
Image of the grave of George Jones in Nashville. Image by Katie Peterson.

What were George Jones’ Last Words?

After days of silence, George Jones’ wife, Nancy, said that her husband opened his eyes shortly before his death and said, “Well, hello there. My name is George Jones. I’ve been looking for you.”

Who was George Jones?

George Jones, affectionately known by fans as the “Possum,” was a superstar in country music from the late 1950s until his 2013 death.

He brought about many legendary songs that continue to be definers of country music today.

Whenever those first few words of his legendary 1980s hit, “He Stopped Loving Her Today” are sung, everyone in the room breaks out in applause as they remember the first time they heard Jones sing it.

The song is such a signature for the artist that the week following his death, the song appeared on the hot country songs chart once again at number 21 and will go down in history as one of the top country songs ever recorded.

Jones remains one of the most beloved men in the world of country music, even ten years after his death.

When was George Jones Born?

George Glenn Jones’ birthday is Sept. 12, 1931.

With that birthdate, George Jones’ zodiac sign is Virgo. 

Related: The 15 Best Male Country Singers: A Definitive List

Where was George Jones From?

George Jones was born in Saratoga, Texas.

George Jones’ Ethnicity

George Jones was an All-American boy.

How Tall was George Jones?

George Jones stood 5’5″.

How Much Did George Jones Weigh?

George Jones’ weight was approximately 176 pounds.

Where Did George Jones Live?

George Jones spent most of his life in either Texas, whether it was in Beaumont or Jasper, or Tennessee. At the end of his life, he and his wife Nancy lived on an estate in Franklin, Tennessee.

Related: The 15 Best Country Songs from Jimmie Rodgers to Morgan Wallen

george and melba
A promotional photograph of George Jones and Melba Montgomery while recording for United Artists Records in the 1960s. Image is in the Public Domain

George Jones’ Early Life

George Jones came from a poverty-stricken family in Colmesneil, Texas.

From the get-go, life wasn’t easy for Jones. While delivering him, the doctor dropped the new infant, breaking the new baby’s arm.

Things perked up when he turned seven, his parents having bought a radio, which led to Jones hearing country music for the first time in his life.

During a 2006 interview with Billboard, Jones recalled those nights of listening to the Grand Ole Opry, saying that he always wanted to hear Roy Acuff and Bill Monroe so desperately that he made his mother promise to wake him up if he fell asleep. 

When his sister Ethel later died at a young age, music wasn’t always indicative of good times.

Because his sister’s death led to his father’s depression and drinking, life in the Jones house didn’t get much easier. When his father drank heavily, he often abused his wife and children.

Regarding George, he would force him to play and sing for company, and if he didn’t perform at all or didn’t perform well, it was more abuse. This made Jones fight to be a better singer.

Finally, at 16, he left home and moved to Jasper, Texas, where he started his musical journey singing on several radio stations.

How Did George Jones Become Famous?

After a few years of recording and touring with already well-known stars such as Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash, George Jones made a breakthrough in country music with his first number-one hit, “White Lightnin’” in 1959, described as having an authentic rock and roll sound.

Johnny Cash said of the song: “George Jones woulda been a really hot rockabilly artist if he’d approached it from that angle. Well, he was, really, but never got the credit for it.”

That’s OK. It still paved the way for more extraordinary things to come as Jones became one of the most popular new country stars of the 1960s.

Related: Everything You Need to Know About Johnny Cash

George Jones’ Career

With the success of his first number-one hit, George Jones’s popularity grew as a songwriter and singer.

With his writing skills linked to hits such as “Window Up Above” and “Seasons of My Heart,” he became well-respected amongst his fellow artists, with superstars like Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, and Elvis Costello covering his songs.

Upon signing with United Artists in 1962, one of his biggest career hits came with “She Thinks I Still Care,” which premiered this new deeper voice that would soon become his signature sound.

However, Jones’s career wasn’t without struggle, as he eventually followed in his father’s footsteps in a bad way as he started drinking heavily.

This flaw led him to fail to show up to shows, earning him the unflattering nickname “No Show Jones.” Although he tried to quit multiple times over the years, it wouldn’t be until 1999 that he stopped drinking for good.

Despite these setbacks, he was still able to release some of the most iconic George Jones songs, including “Walk Through This World with Me” in 1967, “The Door in 1975, and “He Stopped Loving Her Today” in 1980.

He also still managed to release a plethora of George Jones albums, including 80 studio albums, 132 compilation albums, including those featuring some of his greatest hits, three live albums, seven box sets, and ten video albums.

Even with his mega success, however, some of his most iconic songs were thanks to a partnership that has still gone down in history as one of the greatest country duos ever.

Related: The 18 Best Female Country Singers: Who Made the List?

george jones and tammy wynette
Promotional image of George Jones and Tammy Wynette in 1969. Image is in the Public Domain

George Jones and Tammy Wynette

Before there was Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, there was George Jones and Tammy Wynette.

Jones met Wynette in 1968, but he had known of her already because the same agency was used to book their tours. The fact that the “Stand By Your Man” singer was 11 years younger didn’t phase either of them in the end, as they wed a year later.

As a couple, they had several years of hits, including three number ones, two of which were recorded after their 1975 divorce.

They included “We’re Gonna Hold On” in 1973, “Golden Ring” in 1976, and “Near You” in 1977.

Jones commented on this reunion post-divorce, three years after Wynette’s death, saying: “I am just very glad that we were able to work together and tour together again. It was very important for us to close the chapter on everything that we had been through. I know Tammy felt the same way. Life is too short.”

Did George Jones attend Tammy Wynette’s funeral? Yes. When Tammy Wynette died in April 1998 following multiple health problems, the country music family attended her funeral, including her ex-husband and ex-singing partner.

George Jones’ Net Worth

Considering his many decades of singing and songwriting for his country music career, it’s no wonder his riches accrued him an estimated $35 million net worth at the time of his death.

What Happened to George Jones’ Estate?

Not long before his death, George Jones sold his 54-acre property in Franklin for $2.4 million. His widow, Nancy Jones, sold the mansion and the remaining 25 acres in 2015 for $1.98 million.

Who got George Jones’ money when he died? The answer to that question is unclear; however, other developments indicate that his fourth wife, Nancy Jones received part of it.

After George Jones’ death, Nancy Jones sold all of her husband’s intellectual property and assets to Concord Music Group and Cracker Barrel, owner of Rounder Records, for $30 million.

The sale led to Earl ‘Peanutt’ Montgomery filing a lawsuit against both Nancy and Jones’ record label, Concord, for $5 million.

The suit concerned the release of an album, George Jones & the Smoky Mountain Boys, that Montgomery had supposedly worked with Jones on in the late 1970s but didn’t receive any money or credit for in the liner notes, according to the article by The Tennessean.

Related: 16 of the Best Old Country Songs from the 60s, 70s, and 80s

George Jones’ Children

George Jones was the father of four children.

The first of George Jones’ children was Susan, born to Jones and his first wife, Dorothy.

Two of George Jones’ children came from his second marriage to Shirley Ann Corley. They included George Jones’ son Bryan Jones, who was soon followed by his second son, Jeffrey Jones.

Did George and Tammy have any children? Yes. George Jones’ daughter Georgette Jones was born during his marriage to fellow superstar Tammy Wynette.

She became the only of George Jones’ kids to follow in her famous father’s footsteps to become a singer, making her debut on his 1981 song, “Daddy Come Home.”

Nancy Ann Jones
Image of Nancy Ann Jone’s grave which is the same as her husbands. Image by Katie Peterson.

Who was George Jones Married To?

That’s a complicated question with more than one answer. A better question would be, how many wives did George Jones have? The answer is four.

George Jones’ first wife was Dorothy Bonvillion, whom he married in 1950. Although the marriage brought Jones his first child, it ended one year later, in 1951.

Three years later, Jones would marry his second wife, Shirly Ann Corley, in 1954, and it would be his second longest marriage of the four, lasting until 1968.

Of them all, when Tammy Wynette became George Jones’ wife in 1969, it seemed to be a match made in country heaven. Unfortunately, the marriage fell apart, with the two divorcing in 1975.

George Jones’ fourth and final wife was Nancy Sepulvado, whom he wed in 1983. The two remained together until his 2013 death.

George Jones’ Parents

George Jones was one of seven children born to George Washington Jones, a shipyard worker, and Clara Patterson, a piano player at the local Pentecostal Church.

George Jones’ Siblings

George Jones grew up with one brother and five sisters.

Related: 21 Best 80s Country Songs

George Jones’ Awards

George Jones was a well-decorated artist in his day.

Along with the classic awards such as Male Vocalist of the Year by the Country Music Association, or his Grammy Awards or ACM awards, he also received the National Medal of the Arts in 2002 and was a Kennedy Center honoree in 2008.

He was also inducted into the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame and received a Grammy Hall of Fame Award for “He Stopped Loving Her Today.”

George Jones’ Legacy

If there’s anything to take away from George Jones’ career, it’s not the songs or the fame. It’s the example he left of a humble guy just doing what he loves.

In 2006, he told Billboard, “It’s never been for love of money. I thank God for it because it makes me a living. But I sing because I love it, not because of the dollar signs.”

It only proved what country superstar Alan Jackson once remarked about his hero in 1995: “Everybody knows he’s a great singer, but what I like most about George is that when you meet him, he is like some old guy that works down at the gas station … even though he’s a legend.”

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Written by Katie Peterson

Katie Peterson received her bachelor's degree in English from the University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth in 2015. She has worked in journalism since 2015, beginning as production assistant and eventual head staff writer of the Fort Leavenworth Lamp newspaper in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Currently, she is a multimedia journalist with the Diocese of Nashville's Office of Media and Evangelization where she writes, does photography, and edits for several types of content, including the Tennessee Register, Catholic Awakenings, and She has also worked as a freelance journalist with the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas's newspaper, The Leaven, since 2016.
In her spare time, Peterson enjoys reading, spending time with her pup, Sadie Lynn, singing and songwriting.


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