ELDORADO, Texas—Texas singer and songwriter Steven Fromholz has died in a hunting accident when a rifle fell and discharged.
The Schleicher County Sheriff’s Office on Monday said the accident happened at the Flying B Ranch near Eldorado, about 40 miles south of San Angelo. Fromholz was 68.
Chief Deputy George Ariste says Fromholz was shot Sunday afternoon and died at a hospital in Eldorado.
Ariste says Fromholz, who lives in the area, and his girlfriend were going to hunt feral hogs. A rifle was in a case but unzipped at the bottom. The gun was being transferred from one vehicle to another.
Ariste says Fromholz grabbed the handle, the gun partly fell, hit the ground and discharged.
Fromholz was a Texas original and a regular at Houston’s Anderson Fair where he entertained fans with his folksy style and baritone voice.
The Texas native was a gifted songwriter and "The Texas Trilogy" is recognized as "the most definitive song ever written about Texas."
Longtime friend Lyle Lovett recorded it on his CD "Step Inside This House."
"My heart is heavy," Lovett wrote from Washington, D.C. when contacted by KHOU 11 News.
"His insight into human nature was equaled only by his ability to write about it in such detail that he made his listeners feel as if they were standing in the shoes of his characters, seeing what they saw, feeling what they felt," Lovett said.
He called Fromholz a "friend and teacher" in a written statement.
"He provided me and so many others with encouragement and help when we were first starting out," Lovett wrote. "He was the kind of positive spirit that made everyone in the room he was in feel better—whether he was onstage or not. My life is richer for having known him and for having listened to him."
Fromholz’s songs were also recorded by Willie Nelson, John Denver, Jerry Jeff Walker and many others.
Fromholz, with his trademark mustache, appeared in numerous movies and plays -- mostly about Texas.
The iconic musician was also known as a colorful community activist. In 1993, he organized a peaceful mooning of the KKK which made headlines all over the world. Fromholz and the legendary writer Molly Ivins later staged a peaceful "sleep-in" – complete with campfires—on the steps of the State Capitol in defense of Austin’s homeless.
Fromholz was inducted into the Texas Music Hall of Fame in March 2003. He suffered a massive stroke less than 30 days later. He spent the next three years learning to walk, talk, play guitar and sing again. After returning to the stage, doctors declared him "a walking miracle."
Fromholz was named a Texas Poet Laureate in 2007.
In recent years, Fromholz declared himself "semi-retired." He said contentment came from "watching sunrises, sunsets and feeding a bunch of ungry cows the most expensive hay he’s ever seen or heard of (due to the droughts in Texas.)"
Godspeed, Mr. Fromholz.