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April 6, 1998
Died in her Sleep/Blood Clot
News Items Following Her Death
Tammy Wynette: A Daughter Recalls Her Mother's Tragic Life and Death by Jackie Daly, Tom Carter (Tammy books for sale)
Tammy Wynette in Concert 1986 DVD for sale
Country music star Tammy Wynette dies aged 55
By Pat Harris
Wynette was 55. Her spokeswoman, Evelyn Shriver, said she died while napping on her couch and added that it was believed she died of a blood clot.
Wynette and the sentiments expressed in her best-known hit song were scornfully cited by Hillary Rodham Clinton in a CBS ''60 Minutes'' television interview before the 1992 U.S. presidential elections.
The future first lady said she was not defending her husband from adultery accusations because she was ``some little woman standing by my man like Tammy Wynette.'' After outraged protests from country music fans and from Wynette herself, Mrs. Clinton telephoned the country singer to apologize.
``The First Lady of Country Music'' won three Country Music Association (CMA) awards for top female vocalist and two Grammy awards for pop music in her fight for recognition in a tough industry.
In January 1996 she received the Award of Merit from the American Music Awards. She once said her only regret in her remarkable career was not winning the CMA Entertainer of the Year award.
Wynette recorded her first single in 1966, and within three years, won her first Grammy. Her biggest hits, in addition to ``Stand By Your Man,'' were ''Two-Story House,'' ``D-I-V-O-R-C-E,'' and ``I Don't Wanna Play House.''
In all she recorded more than 50 albums and sold more than 30 million records. Born Virginia Wynette Pugh on May 5, 1942, in Red Bay, Alabama, she was working in cotton fields on her grandfather's farm by age 7.
At 17 she married her first husband, Euple Byrd, an itinerant construction worker, and lived in an abandoned log house with no plumbing or electricity and cardboard ''insulation'' on the cabin walls.
After the birth of her third child, Wynette divorced Byrd and moved to Birmingham to become a beautician. She began singing on an early morning TV show and making trips to Nashville to knock on doors along the city's famed Music Row.
She moved to Nashville with her children, where she once told a reporter, ``We lived on cornbread, milk and pinto beans.''
Although ``Stand By Your Man'' also was the title of Wynette's best-selling 1979 autobiography, the singer's life was marked by four failed marriages.
Much of the publicity spotlighted her troubled marriage, her third, to country superstar George Jones, with whom she recorded some of her biggest hits, such as ``Golden Ring.''
After their divorce, Wynette went solo, although she recorded ``Two Story House'' with her ex-husband in 1980. She and Jones were reunited on an album titled ``One'' in 1995 and did concert tours together in recent years.
Wynette suffered from chronic ill health and had surgery on her bile duct in 1992. Shriver said Wynette had been in good health recently and had been performing in concerts.
In March the singer won a privacy dispute with the Star and National Enquirer tabloids in a federal court case that resulted in an out-of court settlement. The terms were never disclosed.
She had accused the tabloids of stealing or paying for her hospital records and exaggerating her bad health when she was treated at a hospital in Pittsburgh. She charged invasion of privacy.
Speaking of her own failed marriages, Wynette once said: ``I was never raised to marry and divorce. A lot of it was because I wanted to be a singer and my husbands wanted something different.''
Other low points were bankruptcy problems, a spate of mysterious fires at her mansion and a brief, still unsolved kidnapping from a Nashville shopping center in the 1970s.
Wynette married her fifth husband, her manager George Richey, in 1978.
Her 1992 ``Justified and Ancient'' single with Britain's dance-pop act, the KLF, was an international hit and reached the Top 10 on U.S. charts.
In October 1993 she joined Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn in ''Honky Tonk Angels''-- an album featuring the three country legends.
In addition to her husband, Wynette is survived by her four daughters, Gwen, Jackie, Tina and Georgette, a step-daughter Georgie, a stepson Richie, and several grandchildren.
Tammy Wynette dead
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- She grew up picking cotton in Mississippi, worked as a beautician and sang for the people who, like her, knew about hardship and heartache.
Tammy Wynette, whose hits included the classic country ode "Stand by Your Man," died Monday at age 55 while napping at her Nashville home.
The cause of her death was believed to be a blood clot, spokeswoman Evelyn Shriver said. Wynette had had a series of health problems in recent years.
"Her story is really the story of country music," said Kyle Young of the Country Music Foundation. "From humble beginnings as a hairdresser, to superstardom.
"The strength of her music was she connected with a wide audience, because she really tapped into real situations in people's lives," he said.
Wynette scored many duet hits with George Jones, her husband from 1969-75. They tended to be about either domestic bliss or strife, as did solo Wynette hits like "D-I-V-O-R-C-E" and "My Man." She had a robust voice that could deliver entire songs seemingly on the verge of tears.
Wynette recorded more than 50 albums and sold more than 30 million records, scoring 39 Top 10 hits from 1967-88. Twenty topped the charts.
Country music fans polled for the annual Music City News awards voted Wynette a legend in 1991. She said it was premature.
"I don't consider myself a legend. I think it's kind of overused," said Wynette, who was known as "the first lady of country music."
She was a three-time winner of the Country Music Association's female vocalist of the year award -- 1968 to 1970. Only Reba McEntire has won the honor more times, with four.
She was born Virginia Wynette Pugh on a cotton farm in Itawamba County, Miss., and worked in the fields as a child. She later worked as a waitress, a doctor's receptionist, a barmaid and a shoe factory worker.
In the mid-1960s, she was working as a beautician in Birmingham, Ala., and making periodic 180-mile trips to Nashville in hopes of getting discovered as a singer.
Billy Sherrill, who co-wrote "Stand By Your Man" with Wynette, signed her to Epic Records and produced her pivotal early hits. Other hits included "I Don't Wanna Play House," "Womanhood," "Take Me to Your World," "Your Good Girl's Gonna Go Bad," and "The Ways to Love a Man."
The genius of "Stand By Your Man" was how Wynette's tearful voice undercut the lyrics, capturing the pain of a woman struggling to be true to a man who probably didn't deserve it.
"She was as soulful a singer as I've ever heard," said producer Don Was, who has worked with Willie Nelson and Bonnie Raitt. "In her own way, she was every bit as soulful as someone like Aretha Franklin."
Added country singer Patty Loveless: "When Tammy opened her mouth, it was the soul of country music. ... Tammy, Dolly (Parton) and Loretta (Lynn) -- that was, and always will be, the heart of this music."
Throughout Wynette's 25-year career, stormy marriages and hospital stays threatened to overshadow one of the most successful singing stories in country music history. In 1978, she was abducted at a Nashville shopping center, driven 80 miles in her luxury car, beaten and released by a masked assailant. No one was ever arrested, though Wynette later said the man apparently ended up in prison for another crime.
Wynette's personal life settled down that year when she married her fifth and final husband, George Richey. In 1988, she filed for bankruptcy as a result of a sour investment in two Florida shopping centers.
In 1992, her name and best-known song entered the presidential campaign when Hillary Rodham Clinton, stressing that her support of her husband was more than routine, said: "I'm not sitting here like some little woman standing by my man like Tammy Wynette."
Wynette replied angrily that Mrs. Clinton "offended every true country music fan and every person who has 'made it on their own' with no one to take them to a White House." She added that if she and the Yale-educated Mrs. Clinton ever met, "I can assure you, in spite of your education, you will find me to be just as bright as yourself."
Mrs. Clinton said she didn't mean to hurt Wynette's feelings, and Wynette later performed at a Clinton fund-raiser.
She was hospitalized for various ailments dozens of times, and admitted in the late 1970s to being dependent on painkilling drugs. She had several operations in the last 10 years to relieve recurring inflammation and infections of her bile duct.
Besides husband Richey, Wynette is survived by five daughters, a son and seven grandchildren.
Thanks to Country.com
She was called the Heroine of Heartbreak, and rightfully so. Many of Tammy Wynette's hits dealt with classic themes of loneliness, divorce and the difficulties of male-female relationships. Her songs reflected her often-troubled romantic life (she married five times). But her willingness to share her joys and sorrows in song and her passionate, tear-in-every-note delivery endeared her to millions.
Fans were equally fascinated by her rags-to-riches life story. Born Virginia Wynette Pugh in Itawamba County, Mississippi, on May 5, 1942, she was raised mostly by her maternal grandparents after her father died. Amid the drudgery of farm work, Tammy dreamed of becoming an Opry star, taught herself to play the guitar, served as pianist at the Providence Baptist Church and sang in school programs.
Shortly before graduating high school, Tammy married Euple Byrd, with whom she had three children. For a while they lived in a log cabin with no indoor plumbing and only a wood-burning fireplace for cooking and heat. Since Byrd was often unemployed and moved the family a lot, Tammy worked as a waitress. After separating from Byrd and moving to Birmingham to live with relatives, she worked as a beautician and began singing on a local TV program.
Beginning in 1965, Tammy made several trips to Nashville, looking for a record deal. In 1966, she moved to Music City and auditioned for Epic Records producer Billy Sherrill, who signed her and changed her stage name to Tammy Wynette. Beginning with "Apartment #9" in 1966-67, the Wynette-Sherrill team ultimately racked up twenty #1 hits by 1990.
During the late 1960s, Tammy began to explore women's viewpoints in song. "I Don't Wanna Play House" and "D-I-V-O-R-C-E" voiced the agonies of women and children torn by family break-ups. "Stand By Your Man," which advised women to forgive wayward men, drew criticism from feminists, but Tammy defended it as an expression of triumph over adversity.
Her winning streak extended into the mid-'70s with hits such as "Good Lovin' (Makes it Right)" and "Woman to Woman." Tammy herself cowrote top-selling songs like "Singing My Song" and "Till I Can Make It On My Own." During these years her stormy marriage to George Jones (whom she wed in 1969 and divorced in 1975) riveted as much as the couple's hit duets, including "We're Gonna Hold On, " "Two Story House" and "Golden Ring."
Tammy finally found lasting happiness after marrying songwriter-producer George Richey in 1978. But her autobiography Stand By Your Man (1979), a 1981 TV movie about her life and subsequent news stories revealed her continuing troubles with illness, harassing telephone calls, financial difficulties, break-ins and vandalism at her home, death threats and being abducted.
Still she survived, and went on to make more great music in the 1990s. In 1992 she teamed with the British pop act KLF to create the international dance-pop hit "Justified and Ancient." The next year, she joined forces with Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn for their landmark album Honky Tonk Angels.
Tammy Wynette died on April 6, 1998. Three days later fans and members of the music industry honored her with a televised memorial service broadcast from Nashville's Ryman Auditorium.
Wynette won election to the Country Music Hall of Fame later that year.
TNN/Music City News
Living Legend 1991
New ItemsThe E News 2-11-99
How did Tammy Wynette die?
We may never know the true answers
The Davidson County Medical Examiner, Dr. Bruce Levy decided today that he would not seek to have Tammy Wynette's body exhumed.
The Medical Examiner cited the fact that Wynette was terminally ill, and suffered from blood clots.
``Tammy Wynette was terminally ill and her death was due to natural causes,'' Dr. Bruce Levy told reporters in announcing his decision.
Levy said he reviewed medical records, talked with local police and with Dr. Marsh before making his decision.
One new fact about Wynette that did come out of the press conference was that she was terminally ill. Although rumors had been reported for several years no one ever confirmed that fact, until today.
An attorney for the daughters has stated that they may seek other legal avenues to have an autopsy performed.
It's unfortunate but it looks like the Tammy Wynette post life stories may get as bitter as the one time coverage of the Conway Twitty Estate fight.
Sources in Nashville say that the will left by Wynette may not be in the best interest of her daughters. The daughters may also fight the Will.
Another source, The New York Post is reporting that Jackie Daly has sold book rights for nearly half-a-million dollars.
The saga is just beginning.
Tammy Wynette's doctor speaks out about suit via Attorney
theEnews - For the first time sinceTammy Wynette's daughters filed a $50 million wrongful death suit against her doctor and husband the doctor is now speaking out.
``When the facts become known ... it will be more than clear that Dr. Marsh, and the physicians from the University Medical Center who worked with him to develop Ms. Wynette's treatment plan, provided extraordinary medical care to a person who suffered extraordinary medical problems,'' read a statement from Marsh's attorneys.
Wynette was found dead at her home in Nashville in April 1998 by her husband and manager George Richey.
Wynette's death certificate was signed by Marsh and stated that the legend died from a blood clot in her lungs.
© 1998 theEnews --
Wynette raised from the grave
NASHVILLE, Tenn., APRIL 14 - The body of country music star Tammy Wynette was removed from her tomb and autopsied Wednesday in an attempt to answer questions raised in the year since her death.
The steps were taken a week after three of Wynette's daughters filed a wrongful-death suit against her doctor and her husband-manager, George Richey, claiming they were responsible for her death at the age of 55.
Richey told a news conference he had requested the autopsy because of the allegations made against him in the suit.
``I'm profoundly saddened her children are willing to drag their mother's closely guarded private life into the public, leaving me no choice but to respond,'' he said.
``I'm saddened that out of frustration over financial matters, her daughters have been willing to work so hard to discredit their mother. ... I'm saddened that part of Tammy's legacy is this fiasco,'' he said.
Richey said his late wife, known as the ``first lady of country music,'' had not wanted to be autopsied or cremated. Her body was entombed at Woodlawn mausoleum in Nashville.
``Tammy was a woman who knew what she wanted in life and in death,'' he said.
Bruce Levy, Tennessee's chief medical examiner, said he had conducted the autopsy and would issue a report in four to six weeks.
One week ago, three of Wynette's daughters -- Georgette Smith, Jackie Daley and Tina Jones -- sued Richey and Wynette's doctor, Wallis Marsh of Pittsburgh, in Davidson County Circuit Court for $50 million in compensatory damages and an unspecified amount in punitive damages.
The suit alleged that Marsh was guilty of malpractice by giving the singer powerful narcotic drugs and Richey had ''improperly and inappropriately maintained her narcotic addiction, improperly administered narcotics to her and failed to see that she would receive necessary medical treatment.''
Officials earlier this year asked the coroner for an autopsy, but he refused, saying he did not have sufficient evidence to seek a court order for the removal of her body from the tomb. Richey's request, he said Wednesday, allowed him to proceed.
Wynette, who had long suffered from intestinal illness and other health problems, died April 6, 1998. At the time, her death was listed as due to natural causes, and Marsh said it had been caused by blood clots in her lungs.
By Pat Harris
Medical Examiner: "Wynette died of natural causes"
The E News
May 21, 1999
Davidson County Medical Examiner Dr. Bruce Levy says that if he is called to testify he would have to say that Tammy Wynette died of natural causes. Wynette died of heart failure caused by damage from repeated blood clots, the report states.
Levy went on to say that traces of Versea, a sedative, and Phenergan, used for nausea and as a sedative, was found in the singers body.
``My belief is that the heart failure happened probably through a combination of natural disease and maybe or maybe not contributed to by the drugs,'' Levy said. ``There's no way to be able to determine that for sure.''
No comment has come from the camp of Wynette's daughters whose $50 million lawsuit against Wynette's doctor was the reason for the exhumation and autopsy.
Tammy Wynette's daughters settle $50 million lawsuit
Story filed: 09:05 Friday 19th April 2002
The daughters of Tammy Wynette have dropped legal action against a doctor over her death.
They had claimed Dr Wallis Marsh contributed to Wynette's death in 1998.
Lawyers for both sides say they have now agreed a secret out-of-court settlement.
A trial had been set for May 7.
The country star's four daughters were suing for $50 million, claiming Dr Marsh had mismanaged her case.
"Both parties are quite happy that it's over and done with," said Dr Marsh's lawyer Wilbur McCoy Otto.
Wynette, best known for her hit Stand By Your Man, died aged 55 of heart failure caused by chronic blood clots.
She suffered for years with painful stomach ailments and was treated for addiction to painkillers.
Dr Marsh prescribed the painkiller Versed to the singer.
The daughters also sued the pharmacy Care Solutions of Nashville for delivering the painkiller and Wynette's last husband, George Richey, for helping to administer it.
The daughters - Tina Jones, Jackie Daly, Georgette Smith and Gwen Nicholas - previously removed Richey from the lawsuit .
He had asked that Wynette's body be exhumed for an autopsy to help clear up questions about her death.
In October, a federal judge also dismissed Care Solutions from the case.
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