The Greatest Cowboy to ever strum his guitar down the breakfast aisle is crooning over sausages on the Big Ranch up in the Sky.
Jimmy Dean, who penned the 1961 hit “Big Bad John” and fronted a best-selling sausage brand, died Sunday. He was 81.
His wife, singer/songwriter Donna Meade Dean, says her husband passed at 7:54 PM Sunday at their Henrico County, Va., home, south of Richmond.
“I definitely need my privacy right now, and am not available for interviews. My husband died of natural causes, and funeral services are pending.”
Dean will not only be remembered for his recording career, but also his still-thriving sausage business, The Jimmy Dean Meat Co.- which the singer started in his hometown in 1969. Dean — who was inducted in the Country Music Hall of Fame four months ago — shared the story of his impoverished beginnings in Plainview, Texas on the pages of a memoir titled 30 Years of Sausage, 50 Years of Ham in 2004.
Jimmy Dean is survived by his wife, three children, and two grandchildren.