Joe Bonsall, celebrated tenor of the oak ridge boys, dies at 76.

Joe Bonsall, Grammy award winner and renowned tenor of the country and gospel group the Oak Ridge Boys, passed away on Tuesday at the age of 76. He succumbed to complications from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), as confirmed by his family representatives.

“Joe loved to sing. He loved to read. He loved to write,” the statement read. “He loved to play banjo. He loved working on the farm. And he loved the Philadelphia Phillies. But Jesus and his family always came first — and we will see him again on the Promised Day.”

A Philadelphia native and resident of Hendersonville, Tennessee, Bonsall joined the Oak Ridge Boys in 1973 after leaving his gospel group, the Keystones. He was instrumental in the band’s success during the 1980s and beyond, contributing to hits like “Elvira,” “Bobbie Sue,” and “American Made.” “Elvira” notably reached No. 1 on the country chart and No. 5 on Billboard’s all-genre Hot 100.

ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a neuromuscular disorder that damages nerve cells controlling muscle movements such as walking, talking, and breathing. Most patients die within three to five years of diagnosis.

In September 2023, the Oak Ridge Boys began a farewell tour set to continue into 2024. However, Bonsall retired from touring in January, citing the physical toll of his four-year battle with ALS. Ben James was announced as his replacement.

“I am now at a point where walking is impossible, so I have basically retired from the road. It has just gotten too difficult,” Bonsall said upon his retirement. “It has been a great 50 years, and I am thankful to all the Oak Ridge Boys, band, crew, and staff for the constant love and support shown to me through it all. I will never forget, and for those of you who have been constantly holding me up in prayer, I thank you and ask for you to keep on praying.”

In June 2022, Bonsall shared on social media that he had survived a near-fatal incident involving pulmonary embolisms. His memoir, “I See Myself,” will be released posthumously in November, adding to his collection of 11 books, including the four-part children’s series, “The Molly Books.”

During his five-decade tenure with the Oak Ridge Boys, Bonsall was a member of the Grand Ole Opry and was inducted into the Philadelphia Music Hall of Fame, the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, the Vocal Group Hall of Fame, and the Country Music Hall of Fame.

“For 50 years, Joe Bonsall was the Oak Ridge Boys’ sparkplug. He was as exciting a performer as any who ever hit a gospel or country stage,” said Kyle Young, CEO of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. “His tenor voice was high and clear, and his jovial spirit always provided a jolt of energy, immediately rousing audiences to come on in and take a load off. He certainly lightened our cares every time he sang.”

John Rich of Big & Rich shared a tribute on social media: “Joe was a real friend, and someone I looked up to not only as an artist, but as a man. He’s left a legacy of incredible music, and endless accounts of his kind-heartedness.” Travis Tritt also posted a tribute, writing, “Joe had amazing talent and a wonderful personality and he will be missed terribly by everyone who knew him.”

Bonsall is survived by his wife, Mary Ann; daughters Jennifer and Sabrina; sister Nancy; granddaughter Breanne; grandson Luke; and great grandsons, Chance and Grey.