LOS ANGELES – Grammy Hall of Fame inductee BJ Thomas and award-winning country singer behind hits like “Raindrops Keep Fallin ‘on my Head” and “Hooked on a Feeling” has passed away. He was 78 years old.
Representatives have confirmed that Thomas died today at his Arlington, Texas home on May 29 from complications from stage four lung cancer. He first announced the diagnosis in March.
“I am so lucky to have had the opportunity to record and perform beautiful songs of pop, country and gospel music, and to share these wonderful songs and memories around the world with millions of you” , he said in a statement at the time.
Born in Hugo, Oklahoma, Thomas grew up in Houston, Texas, where he absorbed a wide range of influences, from the traditional country of Hank Williams to the soul of Jackie Wilson and Little Richard. From humble church singing origins, Thomas first found success with a cover of William’s “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” in 1966, which became his first million-selling single.
Over the course of his career, Thomas has won five Grammys, sold 70 million albums worldwide, and has eight No.1 hits and 26 Top 10 singles. His hits included “(Hey Won’t You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song ”,“ I Just Can’t Help Believing ”,“ Don’t Worry Baby ”and“ Hooked on a Feeling ”.
Thomas ‘hit single “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head,” written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, won Best Original Song at the Oscars for Paul Newman and Robert Redford’s classic film “Butch Cassidy. and the Sundance Kid ”. Sales have soared to over 2 million copies and have continued to find their way into beloved films, such as “Forrest Gump” and “Spider-Man 2.”
Soon after, Thomas fell into drug addiction. He cited his meeting with his wife, Gloria, as a turning point, at which point he became a born again Christian, quit drugs and turned to gospel music as a way to express his faith. His 1976 album, “Home Where I Belong,” won a Grammy and a Dove Award.
Beyond his beloved hits, Thomas also sang the sitcom theme song “Growing Pains,” “As Long As We’ve Got Each Other,” and voiced several commercials for companies like Coca-Cola and Pepsi. He also appeared in the movie “Jory and Jake’s Corner” and wrote his autobiography, also titled “Home Where I Belong”.
Thomas is survived by Gloria, with whom he was married for 53 years; their three daughters, Paige Thomas, Nora Cloud and Erin Moore and four grandchildren, Nadia Cloud, Keira Cloud, Ruby Moore and Billy Joe Moore. Plans for the funeral are still ongoing, but will remain private. Donations in memory can be made to Mission Arlington, the Tarrant Area Food Bank, and the Texas SPCA.