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Oak Ridge Boys’ Joe Bonsall Passes Away at 76 Due To ALS

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Joe Bonsall, a member of the iconic country music group Oak Ridge Boys, has died at the age of 76. The tenor vocalist, who had been with the group for over five decades, succumbed to complications from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) on Tuesday.

Joe Bonsall’s journey with the Oak Ridge Boys began in 1973. Under his tenure, the band evolved from its gospel roots to become a powerhouse in country music, achieving crossover success with hits like “Elvira” and “Bobbie Sue.”

The group’s impact on the music industry was recognized with their induction into both the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2015 and the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2000. Kyle Young, CEO of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, praised Bonsall’s contributions in his written statement. He wrote:

“For 50 years, Joe Bonsall was the Oak Ridge Boys’ sparkplug. He was as exciting a performer as any who ever hit a gospel or country stage.”

Sarah Trahern, CEO of the Country Music Association, also reflected on Bonsall’s impact.

“His commitment to serving others while developing Country Music into a worldwide sensation will never be forgotten and our industry has been made better because of him.”

Bonsall’s retirement from touring was announced earlier this year due to his declining health. In a post on X, he shared,

“Many of you know I have been battling a slow onset (over 4 years now) of a neuromuscular disorder. I am now to a point that walking is impossible so I have basically retired from the road.”

Beyond his musical career, Bonsall was an accomplished author, having written 11 books. His final memoir, “I See Myself,” is set for posthumous release this November.

Joe Bonsall is survived by his wife, children, grandchildren, and a sister. His family has requested donations to the ALS Association or the Vanderbilt Medical Center ALS and Neuroscience Research Center, honoring Bonsall’s legacy and contributing to the fight against the disease that claimed his life.

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