Country and folk singer-songwriter Nanci Griffith has died at the age of 68.
Her management company, Gold Mountain Entertainment, confirmed her death in a statement on Friday, but did not reveal her cause of death, saying, “It was Nanci’s wish that no further formal statement or press release happen for a week following her passing.”
Griffith was born on 6 July 1953 in Seguin, Texas. She launched her recording career in 1978 with “There’s a Light Beyond These Woods”, and she went on to release a long string of respected albums in the ’80s, ’90s and into the 2000s, with highlights including 1987’s “Lone Star State of Mind”, which gave her her first commercial chart success when it peaked at #23 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart. It also gave Griffith her first Top 40 hit with the title song, which reached #36 on Billboard’s Hot Country Singles chart.
Another song from that album was “From a Distance,” which although it did not chart for Griffith, would become a career single for Bette Midler when she released her version in 1990.
Griffith also wrote songs that proved hits for other artists, including Kathy Mattea, who landed her breakthrough hit in 1986 with “Love at the Five and Dime,” peaking at #3. Suzy Bogguss reached #9 in 1991 with her cover of Griffith’s “Outbound Plane.”
Griffith recorded and released music up until 2012, which saw the release of her final studio album, “Intersections”, via her own record label. Details on her later life are sparce, but she appeared not to have recorded or toured after 2012.
The musician had battled health issues throughout her life and was diagnosed with cancer at least twice; first with breast cancer in 1996 and again, with thyroid cancer, in 1999.
Bogguss and Chely Wright were among those who turned to social media to pay their respects to Griffith after news of her death broke.