Sad news out of Music City as Grand Ole Opry star and Country Music Hall of Famer Jim Ed Brown passed away on Thursday after a battle with cancer. He was 81.

Brown was diagnosed with lung cancer in September of last year. Earlier this year he announced that he was cancer-free. However, just a few weeks ago, his family revealed that the cancer had returned.

Jim Ed Brown scored major country hits as a solo artist, as a duet singer, and as a member of The Browns with sisters Maxine and Bonnie. The Browns had a huge crossover hit in 1959 with "The Three Bells". It topped the Billboard country charts for 10 consecutive weeks and also spent four weeks at #1 on Billboard's all-genre singles chart.

His biggest solo effort was in 1967 with his signature hit "Pop a Top", a No. 3 country single that was later revived by Alan Jackson on his Under the Influence album in 1999.

In 1976 he began recording duets with Helen Cornelius, logging a No. 1 country hit with "I Don't Want to Have to Marry You". With Cornelius, Brown won a CMA Vocal Duo of the Year award.

In March of this year, Jim Ed Brown and The Browns were elected along with Grady Martin and The Oak Ridge Boys as the newest members of the Country Music Hall of Fame.

“Fame is fleeting, hit records change every week, award show winners and nominees change every year, but being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame will be forever,” Mr. Brown said, in response to receiving country music’s highest honor.

Jim Ed Brown leaves behind Becky, his wife of 52 years, and a son and daughter.

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