Country star Don Williams, ‘the Gentle Giant,’ dead at 78

Don Williams performs during the All for the Hall concert on Tuesday, April 10, 2012, in Nashville, Tenn. The concert is a benefit for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Don Williams, an award-winning country singer with love ballads like “I Believe in You,” has died. He was 78.

A statement from his publicist said he died Friday after a short illness.

Williams had 17 No. 1 hits and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2010. His mellow sound influenced a later generation of singers including Joe Nichols and Josh Turner.

Williams, nicknamed “the Gentle Giant,” had a rich voice, gentle delivery and storytelling style.

His hits included “I Believe in You,” ”Lord, I Hope This Day Is Good,” ”You’re My Best Friend,” ”Some Broken Hearts Never Mend,” ”Till the Rivers All Run Dry” and “Back in My Younger Days.”

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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