Country star Roy Clark passed away at 85

Roy Clark and Brad Paisley perform onstage at the 50th annual CMA Awards at the Bridgestone Arena

Roy Clark and Brad Paisley perform onstage at the 50th annual CMA Awards at the Bridgestone Arena

Country music veteran Roy Clark, the Grammy-winning co-host of TV's long-running "Hew-Haw" show, died Thursday at his home in Tulsa, Okla.

The cause was complications of pneumonia, according to a statement from his publicists, Sandy Brokaw and Jeremy Westby.

Roy Clark - the legendary country singer and host of "Hee Haw" - has died. First airing from 1969-1971, and again in syndication from 1971-1993, Hee Haw became an iconic country music touchstone, and more than 600 episodes of the show were produced in total.

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"'Hee Haw' won't go away".

More enamored of the program than Owens, Clark likened "Hee Haw" to a family reunion, one that extended from the stage into the audience and out to the living rooms of TV viewers across the country. "Sending all my love and respect to him and his family for all he did".

A remarkably talented multi-instrumentalist, Clark started out on the banjo and mandolin; when he was 14, he received his first guitar as a Christmas present - and made his first television appearance that same year. Clark even headlined a tour in the Soviet Union in 1976, when that was still a rare opportunity for American performers. Flashy and quick-fingered, he was as adept on flamenco standards such as "MalagueƱa" as on country-pop songs like "Yesterday, When I Was Young", written by French singer Charles Aznavour. He was also known for his instrumental versions of "Malaguena", on 12-string guitar, and "Ghost Riders in the Sky". He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2009. "I keep a band of great young people around me, and we're not musically restrained". In the mid-'50s, Clark honed his television chops as a regular on Country Style, the D.C. -based television show hosted by Jimmy Dean, eventually taking over as host after Dean relocated to NY. Performing at storied venues such as New York's Carnegie Hall, the Sporting Club in Monte Carlo and the Rossiya Theatre in Moscow, Clark remained a popular touring act as late as the 2000s.

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In a tribute to Clark sent by his representatives, they shared some quotes from the country star about his career. His father, who played in a square dance band, took him to see the National Symphony Orchestra and military bands.

Clark, who was instrumental in turning Branson, Mo., into a live music capitol, grew up in Washington, D.C.

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