Chet Flippo, a respected music writer who worked for Rolling Stone, Billboard, CMT and others during a four-decade-long career, has died. Flippo didn't write the book on country music, but he did write the book on one of country music's pioneers before adapting to digital media in the late '90s and '00s.

Music Row reported Flippo's death on Wednesday afternoon (June 19). He's remembered as an honest, loyal and private man who helped bring country music to national audiences, the first to begin covering country artists in Rolling Stone. More recently, he's been able to provide some historical perspective to country music happenings. His final 'Nashville Skyline' column at CMT remembered nostalgically the old days of Fan Fair, while pointing out the changes in country music.

As editorial director, Flippo wrote the 'Nashville Skyline' column weekly. He joined CMT in 2001, having previously worked for Sonicnet, Billboard and Rolling Stone between stints as a lecturer at the University of Tennessee. He's also written books on Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones and Graceland while writing for numerous newspapers and television networks.

Flippo left Rolling Stone to pen the Williams autobiography in 1980, but returned to write two articles in 2012. Previously, he'd been the magazine's New York Bureau Chief (in 1974) and Senior Editor.

Flippo was married to Martha Hume, who died in her sleep in December. The native Texan was a U.S. Navy veteran who served in the Vietnam war. He was 69 years when he died at a Nashville hospital following a lengthy illness, according to CMT.