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Grammy-Winning Songwriter Larry Henley Dead at 77

Larry Henley
Larry Henley

Larry Henley, the legendary songwriter who co-wrote the mega-hit ‘Wind Beneath My Wings,’ died in Nashville the morning of Dec. 18, 2014 at the age of 77. He had been suffering from Parkinson’s disease, as well as Alzheimer’s.

Countless artists have covered Henley’s biggest tune, most notably Bette Midler, but also country artists Willie Nelson, Gary Morris, Ray Price, B.J. Thomas, Lee Greenwood and more.

Though ‘Wind Beneath My Wings’ soared to the top of the pop charts with Midler’s assist, Henley’s roots were planted in country music. He earned his first No. 1 with Tammy Wynette’s rendition of ‘Til I Get it Right,’ which he wrote with mentor Red Lane. He also boasted a No. 1 with Tanya Tucker’s ‘Lizzie and the Rainman.’ Henley wrote several other chart-topping tunes, including Janie Fricke’s 1938 hit ‘He’s a Heartache (Looking for a Place to Happen)’ and Randy Travis’ 1989 chart-topper ‘Is It Still Over.’

Inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2012, Henley is a Texas native and will be buried in his home state. A celebration of his life will be hosted in Nashville in early 2015, commemorating his talent and contributions to the world of country music. The family asks that donations be made to Nashville’s Alive Hospice in lieu of flowers.

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