Don Williams has announced he is retiring after six decades as one of country music's most beloved performers.

The 76-year-old country legend broke the news unexpectedly in a press release on Tuesday (March 1), saying, “It’s time to hang my hat up and enjoy some quiet time at home. I’m so thankful for my fans, my friends and my family for their everlasting love and support."

The news comes just one month after unexpected hip surgery forced Williams to cancel his previously announced 2016 tour, which was slated to kick off Feb. 17 and visit 21 cities across America before winding up in Michigan on April 16.

Born in Texas in 1939, Williams began his career as a member of the pop-folk trio the Pozo Seco Singers, which placed six hits on the pop charts in 1966 and 1967. Williams landed at least one major hit every year between 1974 and 1991, including country classics “Good Ole Boys Like Me,” “Till the Rivers All Run Dry,” “It Must Be Love,” “I’m Just a Country Boy,” “Amanda” and “I Believe in You.”

His 6'1" frame and mellow presence earned him the nickname "the Gentle Giant," and Williams' baritone voice also powered hits including “Tulsa Time,” "Back in My Younger Days," "You're My Best Friend," "Lord, I Hope This Day Is Good," "Some Broken Hearts Never Mend" and many more. He was the CMA's Male Vocalist of the Year in 1978, and “Tulsa Time” earned him Record of the Year honors at the 1979 ACM Awards.

Williams was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2010. He released his final album, Reflections, in 2014.

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