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Texas music giant and Houston native Johnny Bush dies at age 85

Bush, a member of the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame, died Friday.
Credit: KHOU/Van Darden

Johnny Bush, a giant in Texas country music, died Friday at the age of 85.

According to a post on his Facebook page, Bush died surrounded by family and friends in San Antonio. Here is the full post

“It is with heavy heart that I make this post. Texas Country Music Hall of Famer, Country Music legend, nicknamed the Country Caruso, a friend to everyone in the music business, a friend to all of his fans, Johnny Bush passed away this afternoon surrounded by his family and some of his closest friends. Please keep the Bush family in your heart and prayers. A jewel of a man we have lost.”

Bush, who became known as the the "Country Caruso," was born in Houston in 1935.  According to his website, he wasn’t born with with the name 'Johnny Bush.'  His real name was Johnny Bush Shinn III, but a television announcer mixed up his name. When he went to get his union card the next day, it was apparently already typed up with the name Johnny Bush. He took his card, and the name stuck.

Bush wrote and performed the song "Whiskey River," which was made even more famous by country icon Willie Nelson. Also to his credit were "You Gave Me a Mountain," "Undo the Right," "Jim, Jack and Rose," and "I'll Be There."  

Bush made it into the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame in 2003. He was inducted along with Kris Kristofferson and Lefty Frizzell.

According to his website, Bush grew up poor in Houston's Kashmere Gardens. He broke into the music scene at honky-tonks in Houston and San Antonio.

You can learn more about Bush's life on his website.