Hal Ketchum Dead at 67
Hal Ketchum has died following a battle with dementia. The '90s country star was 67 years old.
Ketchum's wife Andrea announced the news of her husband's death on Facebook on Tuesday (Nov. 24) "with great sadness and grief." The singer died "peacefully" on Monday night (Nov. 23), she reports, at home.
"May his music live on forever in your hearts and bring you peace," Andrea writes.
Ketchum was born on April 9, 1953, in Greenwich, N.Y. In 1981, he moved to Texas where he became a singer-songwriter and a regular performer at New Braunfels' famous Gruene Hall. A decade later, he first achieved Nashville stardom with the 1991 single "Small Town Saturday Night."
In Oxford's Encyclopedia of Country Music, contributor Clark Parsons likens Ketchum's folksy yet intellectually rich material to that of Mary Chapin Carpenter. This formula brought Ketchum 11 straight Top 25 singles, a streak that lasted until 1995 and includes such '90s country classics as "Hearts Are Gonna Roll" and "Mama Knows the Highway."
In more recent decades, health setbacks have limited Ketchum's career trajectory. In June of 1998, he was diagnosed with acute transverse myelitis, an ailment of the spinal column that left the singer without the use of the left side of his body and forced him to re-learn basic tasks.
Per a statement posted by Andrea to Ketchum's official Facebook page on April 14, 2019, the singer and songwriter at that time officially retired from music due to his dementia. At that time, she shared, he had been battling dementia "for some time now."
"Because of his love for his fans, he continued performing as long as it was possible," Andrea wrote. "Dementia is an exhausting and confusing illness, and now it's time for Hal to stay home with loved ones.
Hal is otherwise healthy and happy, enjoying time with his family and friends," she added.
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