Legendary country music star Hank Thompson dies of lung cancer

by Jimmy Carter

Hank Thompson, who mixed honky-tonk and Western swing on such hits as "A Six Pack to Go" and "The Wild Side of Life," has died.

The country singer and bandleader was 82.

Thompson died of lung cancer late Tuesday at his home in the Fort Worth suburb of Keller, said spokesman Tracy Pitcox, who is also president of Heart of Texas Records.

He died just days after canceling his tour and announcing his retirement.

Fans loved Thompson's distinctive voice and his musical style, which drew on the Western swing first developed in the 1930s by fellow Texan Bob Wills.

His first hit record was "Whoa, Sailor" in 1946.

That year, he started a band called the Brazos Valley Boys, which won Billboard magazine's touring band of the year award 14 consecutive times.