Nightly News   |  April 26, 2013

George Jones, country music legend, dies at 81

His hard-driving lifestyle was just as well-known as his music, earning him the nickname No-Show Jones the year he missed more than 50 concerts.  His albums were as popular as ever despite his troubles, and in 2008 he became a Kennedy Center Honoree. NBC’s Janet Shamlian reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> the great george jones died today. you're going to hear it a hundred times over these next few days and it's true. his life was a country song and along the way he redefined the country song . his voice was you feeunique and often imitated. his life was unique until it ended today at the age of 81. a look back from nbc's janet shamlian .

>> reporter: a george jones song was about either drinking or heartbreak or both. the anthems of his life. and the drinking it don't kill me

>> reporter: born with a broken arm in the east texas piney woods his first hit was in the 1950s . white lightning

>> reporter: half a century later he was still performing. a kennedy center onnhonoree in 2008 .

>> i'm in a daze.

>> reporter: he admits he often was. his hard driving lifestyle of drugs, alcohol and rehab was as legendary as his music. one year he missed more than 50 concerts earning him the nickname "no show jones ." they call me no show jones

>> want to be remembered as an old boy that had all the luck in the world and just didn't use it right. he stopped loving her

>> reporter: his other weakness was women. he stopped loving her today was a chapter straight from his personal life . jones married four times. stand by your man

>> reporter: including to singer tammy wynette . it was his current wife of 30 years, nancy, he credits with rescuing him. country music was heartbroken today. an outpouring from stations like wfm in nashville.

>> play george jones songs because you want them.

>> reporter: the man called the king of broken hearts broke even more today. janet shamlian , nbc