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Remembering The Death Of Lew Dewitt, Who Sang Tenor For The Statler Brothers

Lew Dewitt Death

On August 15, 1990, Lew Dewitt died from heart and kidney disease, which resulted from his long-suffering of the tortuous Crohn’s disease. According to his road and business manager, Dewitt breathed one’s last during his sleep at his home in Waynesboro, Virginia. He was 52. 

Dewitt and his three childhood friends – Harold Reid, Phil Balsley, and Joe McDorman – formed the Four-Star Quartet in 1948. McDorman left the group and Harold’s younger brother, Don Reid, stepped in. 

The quartet, which later changed its name to the Kingsmen and eventually The Statler Brothers, originally sang gospel music. However, the group met country superstar Johnny Cash in 1964. They then joined him on the road and completely switched to country music.

Soon enough, The Statler Brothers gained the love of many country music fans and built a massive, devoted following. They won three Grammy Awards and were named top vocal groups by the Country Music Association – not only once, but nine amazing times.

Lew Dewitt Quit The Perennially-Popular Group

RELATED: Some Exciting Facts About Lew Dewitt, One Of The Most Recognizable Voices In Country Music

While The Statler Brothers’ fame continued soaring, the rigors of life on the road took their toll on Lew DeWitt. Behind the limelight, he was bravely fighting an intestinal inflammation called Crohn’s Disease that had plagued him since a young age.

In the face of declining health, DeWitt’s appearance with the group had been limited. He joined The Statler Brothers one last time when they hosted the annual Music City News Awards show in June 1982 – and before the month ended, it was announced to the public that he’d be officially leaving the group. Jimmy Fortune stepped in as his replacement.

But DeWitt’s love for music has always been so deep. So, when his health gradually improved after various treatments, he mounted a solo career. He continued performing with a less-strenuous schedule along with the Star City Band.

He officially retired from the music business in 1989.

Truly, the death of Lew Dewitt was one of the saddest moments in country music. 

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