Country music has lost another one of its greats.
Bill Mack was a man of many talents. He was a singer, songwriter, and radio DJ, with the latter role being one he began in 1969.
Texas’ ‘Midnight Cowboy’ Bill Mack dies of COVID-19 Friday morning, family says https://t.co/bBIQMHHYFG
— Fort Worth Star-Telegram (@startelegram) July 31, 2020
His DJ career started at Fort Worth station WBAP-FM. Over the years he hosted several syndicated shows and also worked on SiriusXM. He was so well-respected in the radio community that he went on to become a Grand Ole Opry media award winner in 2000.
According to The Texas Heritage Songwriters’ Association, Bill won “more awards than any other country music DJ in the world.”
Even if you’ve never heard Bill host a radio show before, we’re sure you’ve heard at least one of his songs. That song would be “Blue.”
Bill wrote “Blue” and released his recording in 1958. The song was covered by other artists in the years that followed, though none of their versions took off.
It was a 1996 recording by 13-year-old LeAnn Rimes that finally hit it big. Her rendition of the song peaked at the 10th spot on the Hot Country Songs chart, and placed Rimes on the map as an emerging star in country music.
Thanks to the success of LeAnn’s recording of “Blue,” Bill was later awarded the Grammy for Best Country Song in 1997.
“Blue” was the song that catapulted LeAnn’s career. So when news broke on Friday (July 31) that Bill had passed away, she was understandably heartbroken.
Bill’s son, Billy Mack Smith, was the one who announced the news of his father’s passing at the age of 88. In a tweet, Billy wrote:
“I’m deeply saddened to tell you that my Dad passed away early this morning due to COVID-19 with underlying conditions. He was an amazing father, grandfather, great grandfather and husband to my mom. I’m blessed to have had not only a great dad but my best friend as well.“
I’m deeply saddened to tell you that my Dad passed away early this morning due to COVID-19 with underlying conditions. He was an amazing father, grandfather, great grandfather and husband to my mom. I’m blessed to have had not only a great dad but my best friend as well. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/Bub4Q2C02n
— Billy Mack (@BillyMackRadio) July 31, 2020
That afternoon, LeAnn took to Twitter to express her sorrow after learning Bill had passed away:
“2020 has claimed another one of the greats,” she wrote. “Very sad to hear the news that Bill Mack has left us. I am forever grateful for him and the music he created. Sending all my love to his family. We’ll be ‘Blue’ without you Bill.”
2020 has claimed another one of the greats. Very sad to hear the news that Bill Mack has left us. I am forever grateful for him and the music he created. Sending all my love to his family. We’ll be ‘Blue’ without you Bill ? pic.twitter.com/LMJO4NQPpz
— LeAnn Rimes Cibrian (@leannrimes) July 31, 2020
Bill is survived by his wife, Cynthia, and their three children: Billy, Misty, and Sunday. He is also survived by another daughter, Debbie, from a previous marriage. Bill was also a grandfather to several grandchildren.
Our hearts and prayers go out to Bill’s family during this sad time. May he rest in peace.
Remember Bill by listening to him perform “Blue” in the clip below.