The country music world is in mourning today after the death of the singer Ed Bruce, who died on Friday of natural causes at the age of 81.

People Magazine reported that Bruce was arguably best known for his all-time classic song “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys,” which he co-wrote with his then-wife Patsy Bruce before the pair ultimately divorced in 1987. He was also known for the 1982 hit “You’re the Best Break This Old Heart Ever Had,” which featured Lynn Anderson and became country’s No. 1 hit

Throughout his hugely successful career, Bruce’s music earned him 35 Billboard spots, including six Top 10 hits. Since news of his death broke, tributes have been pouring in for Bruce from other country music stars.

“Just hearing that Ed Bruce passed away … What a standalone voice he had,” Blake Shelton wrote on Twitter. “He’ll be remembered for his many talents including acting and maybe most important his songwriting … Rest In Peace cowboy. I’m not loving 2021 so far.”

The Oak Ridge Boys paid tribute to Bruce as well, tweeting, “We have lost another friend and songwriter today … Rest Easy Ed Bruce … many will remember him for songs like Mama Don’t Let Your Baby’s Grow Ip To Be Cowboys but we shall remember him for a song called I Know … look it up for a blessing … Goodbye brother and Thank You.”

Born in Arkansas in 1939, Bruce was raised in Memphis, Tennessee, right in the heart of the country music world. By the time he was 17, he had popped up on the radar of record producer Sam Phillips, and he soon wrote and released his first song, “Rock Boppin’ Baby.” Bruce wrote “Save Your Kisses” for pop singer Tommy Roe in 1962, in the next year, he landed his first spot on the Billboard Bubbling Under chart with his recording of “See the Big Man Cry.”

Bruce worked in television as well, hosting the shows hows “Truckin’ USA” and “American Sports Cavalcade” in the 1980s. He also made appearances in shows like “Walker, Texas Ranger” and “The Chisholms.”

In 2018, Bruce was given a lifetime achievement award from the Arkansas Country Music Association.

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