Bill Mack, ‘Blue’ Songwriter and Country Music DJ, Dead From COVID-19 at 88
Bill Mack, the writer of LeAnn Rimes' hit song "Blue" and an award-winning country music DJ, has died after contracting the novel coronavirus. Underlying conditions made the virus' effect on him fatal, his son reports.
Mack died on Friday morning (July 31), according to his son, Billy Mack Smith. He was 88 years old.
"He was an amazing father, grandfather, great grandfather and husband to my mom," Smith says in a tweet. "I’m blessed to have had not only a great dad but my best friend as well."
Dubbed the "Dean of Country Music Disc Jockeys," according to CBS 19 in Dallas, Texas, Mack had his songs recorded by, among others, Ray Price and George Jones. He wrote "Blue" in the late 1950s and originally performed it himself; it was Rimes' version, however — recorded in the early '90s, when she was 11 years old — that became a Top 10, gold-certified hit.
Rimes' version of "Blue" won a Grammy for Best Female Country Vocal Performance. It also took home Song of the Year and Single of the Year at the ACM Awards, and earned a Single of the Year nomination at the CMAs.
Rimes turned to social media on Friday to share her thoughts on Mack's death, saying, "I am forever grateful for him and the music he created."
Outside of his songwriting career, Mack began his time as a DJ with Fort Worth station WBAP-FM in 1969. Over the years, he hosted a number of syndicated shows and spent time with SiriusXM.
Mack was a 1999 Texas Country Music Hall of Fame inductee and a Grand Ole Opry media award winner in 2000. The Texas Heritage Songwriters' Association reports that Mack won more honors than any other country music DJ in the world.
Mack lived in Fort Worth with his wife Cynthia. Together, they had three children — Smith, who is also a radio DJ, Misty Dawn and Sunday Renee — and several grandchildren. Mack is also the father of a daughter, Debbie, from a previous marriage.
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