Wayland Holyfield, who made his name in country music as a songwriter with a long string of hit singles, has died. Music Row reports that the celebrated songwriter died on Monday (May 6) at the age of 82.

Holyfield was born in Little Rock, Ark. According to ASCAP, where the songwriter was a member for 43 years, he began to build his success as a songwriter in the mid-1970s, not long after he moved from Arkansas to Nashville to pursue his musical dreams.

Holyfield scored 14 No. 1 hits as a songwriter, and more than 40 of his songs reached the Top 10 over the years.

A Who's Who of the top artists in country music recorded Holyfield's songs, including George Strait, George Jones, the Judds, Don Williams, Brooks & Dunn, Reba McEntire, Randy Travis, Ronnie Milsap, Crystal Gayle, Conway Twitty, Barbara Mandrell, Charley Pride, the Oak Ridge Boys, John Anderson, Waylon Jennings and many more.

Don Williams gave Holyfield a No. 1 hit in 1975, when he recorded and released "You're My Best Friend." Williams also recorded "She Never Knew Me," "'Til the Rivers All Run Dry" and "Some Broken Hearts Never Mend," another No. 1 hit from 1978.

Holyfield's other most recognizable songs included Anne Murray's "Could I Have This Dance," a No. 1 hit from 1980 that served as the love theme for the hit film Urban Cowboy. That song also won a Grammy for Best Country Vocal Performance, Female, and Holyfield named it as his favorite among his own songs.

The hit songwriter was also a passionate advocate for the Nashville songwriting community, serving on the ASCAP Board for more than two decades. He was the President of Nashville Songwriters Association International at one point, as well as serving as chairman of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Foundation Board.

Among other activities, Holyfield testified on behalf of songwriters in front of the Senate and House Judiciary Committees in Washington, D.C., as part of his advocacy.

Holyfield's career accolades included an ASCAP Country Songwriter of the Year award, the Nashville Songwriters Association International’s Presidential Award and a CMA Triple Play Award. The Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame inducted him in 1992.

Wayland Holyfield's cause of death has not been released. Funeral plans are pending.

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