Country star Roy Clark has died at age 85


Roy Clark and Brad Paisley perform onstage at the 50th annual CMA Awards at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn., on November 2, 2016. He was 14 when he got his first guitar - a Christmas present, according to the AP - and within a year was playing in a square-dance band with his father, who also played the guitar, fiddle and banjo. Soon after, he began playing on radio and TV, which became his ultimate calling card.

Hallman's rep Ruth Elkins said Clark remained passionate about music until his death. "At first, it wasn't that I was so talented, but they had to fill time".

As a musician, he toured with legends like Hank Williams and Grandpa Jones.

Born in Virginia, Clark proved a musical prodigy at a young age, winning multiple national banjo and guitar championships by his mid-teens.

Victoria Hallman, who appeared on the long-running country show, said she's "just stunned" by his passing.

"He said, 'Clark, you're gonna be a big star someday, but right now I can't afford to have someone like you around", Clark said in a 1988 Tennessean article. In 1960, he fronted Wanda Jackson's band, and two years later he landed his first label contract, with Capitol Records.

In 1963, he had his first Top Ten hit with his somber version of Bill Anderson's "Tips of My Fingers".

He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2009, and emotionally told the crowd how moving it was 'just to be associated yourself with the members of the Country Music Hall of Fame and imagine that your name will be said right along with all the list'.

Inspired by "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In, ' "Hee Haw" first aired 1969 as a show promoting country music and rural culture".

Clark was the host or co-host of "Hee Haw" from 1969 to 1992.

Clark won the Country Music Association's Entertainer of the Year Award in 1973, and piled up award over the next decade both as a solo artist and with Buck Trent.

And of course, he also was a member of the Grand Ole Opry. His rendition of "Alabama Jubilee" was awarded a Grammy for Best Country Instrumental Performance in 1982. In 2009 he received induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame and still made television appearances as late as 2009.