Published Jun 19, 2013Yodelling country-western singer Slim Whitman died of heart failure this morning (June 19) in a Florida hospital. He was 90 years old.
Whitman's son-in-law Roy Beagle confirmed the passing, noting that the musician had died at Orange Park Medical Center.
"He died last night at the Orange Park hospital at about 12:45 this morning of heart failure," Beagle told Reuters. "We had a 90th birthday party for him in January and he looked good, but he had been in failing health since then."
Born Ottis Dewey Whitman, Jr., his music career began in 1948, following a stint in the U.S. navy. Whitman's early hits included "Love Song of the Waterfall," "Indian Love Call" and "Keep It a Secret," but the artist is most well-known for his laid-back version of "Rose Marie."
While the 1955 single climbed to No. 4 on the U.S. charts, it hit No. 1 over in the UK, where it remained for 11 consecutive weeks. This held the title as the longest-running No. 1 single in the UK until Bryan Adams beat the record in 1991 with "(Everything I Do) I Do It for You." Whitman's last single, "Cry Baby Heart," was released in 1984.
Famous for his pencil-thin moustache, as well as his three-octave tenor and yodel-style vocals, Whitman had his songs used in television and movies alike. "Love Song of the Waterfall," for instance, figured in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, while his wriggly yodelling on "Indian Love Song" saved the day in 1996's Mars Attacks!
Whitman is survived by his daughter, Sharon Beagle, and his son, Byron Whitman.