Source: CNN

Joe Bonsall, who left the legendary singing group The Oak Ridge Boys after 50 years in January due to a neuromuscular disorder, has died, his management team announced Tuesday.

He was 76.

Bonsall died from complications of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), according to his representatives. The degenerative nervous system disease can affect nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.

Bonsall announced on social media about six months ago that he was leaving the group.

“Many of you know I have been battling a slow onset (over 4 years now) of a neuromuscular disorder,” he wrote. “I am now to a point that walking is impossible so I have basically retired from the road. It has just gotten too difficult.”

Bonsall noted that “it has been a great 50 years and I am thankful to all the Oak Ridge Boys band crew and staff for the constant love and support shown to me through it all.”

“I will never forget and for those of you who have been constantly holding me up in prayer I thank you and ask for you to keep on praying,” he added.

Bonsall explained at the time that Ben James is singing in the group in his stead, writing that “his sound is different than mine but he brings a ton of talent to the table!”

“The @oakridgeboys will finish the Farewell Tour without me but rest assured I am good with all of it!” he concluded. “God’s Got It!!!”

The country and gospel quartet, originally founded in 1943 out ot Tennessee, are known for songs including “Elvira” and “American Made.” Bonsall joined the group in 1973.

During his long career, Bonsall became a member of the Grand Ole Opry and was inducted into the Philadelphia Music Hall of Fame, the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, the Vocal Group Hall of Fame, and the Country Music Hall of Fame.

He was also the author of 11 books, including a memoir titled, “I See Myself: Musings and Memories of a Blessed Life,” which is set to be published in November.

“Joe loved to sing. He loved to read. He loved to write,” the announcement from his management reads. “He loved to play banjo. He loved working on the farm. And he loved the Philadelphia Phillies. But Jesus and his family always came first—and we will see him again on the Promised Day.”

Bonsall is survived by his wife, Mary Ann, daughters Jennifer and Sabrina, granddaughter Breanne, grandson Luke, two great-grandsons, Chance, and Grey, and a sister, Nancy.

At his request, there will be no funeral and in lieu of flowers donations may be made to The ALS Association or to the Vanderbilt Medical Center ALS and Neuroscience Research Center.

See Full Web Article