Music

Country star Ray Price leaves hospital for hospice

TYLER, Texas (AP) — Entering what his wife calls his "final days," country music star Ray Price is ending all aggressive treatment for his pancreatic cancer and left an East Texas hospital Thursday to begin receiving hospice care at home.

Price was discharged from the East Texas Medical Center in Tyler, where he had been in and out in recent months as he was treated for the cancer and its complications according to a hospital statement. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2011 and it has recently spread to his liver, intestines and now his lungs, the hospital said.

"Ray is alert and aware of his surroundings and making decisions," said Janie Price, his wife of 45 years, in the hospital statement. "With God's blessing he has not had extreme pain. But it's with great sadness that I announce to you today that my beloved husband has entered the final stages of his cancer that he has battled for 25 months."

The 87-year-old Country Music Hall of Fame laureate will stay at his ranch near Mount Pleasant, Texas, about 60 miles north of Tyler and about 110 miles northeast of Dallas. "Anyone who knows Ray is aware that he has strong convictions and great faith in God. It's his decision to leave the hospital and return home to spend his final days on his beloved ranch surrounded by the comfort of his home, family and friends," his wife said.

Janie Price also relayed what she called her husband's "final message" to his fans: "I love my fans and have devoted my life to reaching out to them. I appreciate their support all these years, and I hope I haven't let them down. I am at peace. I love Jesus. I'm going to be just fine. Don't worry about me. I'll see you again one day."

Price began his career in the 1950s as a honkytonk singer with such hits as "Crazy Arms" and "Heartaches by the Number." Later, he moved in a pop direction with orchestration on hits such as "Danny Boy" and "For the Good Times." He performed his last show in May.

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