October 21

Remembering Hank Thompson’s Death: Honoring the King of Western Swing

Hank Thompson’s death was devastating news to his fans and anyone that loves country music. A native of Waco, Texas, his career spanned generations. 

From his origins playing at local clubs all over San Diego, his induction in 1989 to the Country Music Hall of Fame, to his “Hank T & Friends” album in 1997, which was all about duets with “popular” stars at that time. He was a man that successfully made his mark in music history. 

Many people also remember his concerts because they stood out back in the day. It’s mainly because of his innovative use of lighting systems and top-flight sounds. Impressively, he achieved that by applying his electrical engineering knowledge, which he got from courses at Princeton University, Southern Methodist University, and the University of Texas. 

RELATED: Here Are Some Facts About Hank Thompson, The King Of Honky-Tonk Western Swing

He was also one of the earliest artists to perform in Las Vegas from the country music scene. The last time the public heard Hank Thompson Songs live was during his final performance in his birthplace, Waco, Texas, on October 8, 2007. 

Hank Thompson was a smoker for the majority of his life as an adult. As a result, he got admitted for shortness of breath around mid-October 2007 in a hospital in Texas. He eventually got diagnosed with an exceptionally aggressive kind of lung cancer. 

Thompson canceled the rest of his 2007 “Sunset Tour” and retired from singing on November 1, 2007, two days after his hospital release. On November 6, 2007, five days after undergoing hospice care in his home in Keller, Texas, Thompson’s lung cancer claimed his life. He was 82 years old at that time. 

According to Tracy Pitcox, his spokesman and President of the Heart of Texas Records, Thomspon remained conscious until the last few hours. Pitcox says the King of Western Swing was surrounded by loved ones when he peacefully passed away around 10:45 pm that night. 

While he requested no funeral for his death, a “Celebration of Life” was opened to friends and fans on November 14, 2007, to honor Hank Thompson’s death. The event happened in what’s known as the World’s Largest Honky-Tonk, a Ft. Worth country and western nightclub called Billy Bob’s Texas.


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