James Cecil Dickens, best known by his stage name Little Jimmy Dickens, died at the age of 94, Peoplereports. Dickens suffered a stroke on Christmas Day and passed away from cardiac arrest in a Nashville-area hospital on Friday.
Dickens joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1948 and was its oldest and longest-tenured member. He gave his final performance on the iconic stage Dec. 20, 2014, the day after his birthday, sinigng "Out Behind The Barn."
"The Grand Ole Opry did not have a better friend than Little Jimmy Dickens," Pete Fisher, the Opry vice president and general manager, said in a statement. "He loved the audience and his Opry family, and all of us loved him back. He was a one-of-kind entertainer and a great soul whose spirit will live on for years to come."
Dickens released his first single "Take an Old Cold Tater (and Wait)" in 1949, which started his career in novelty hits. He went on to release "A-Sleeping at the Foot of the Bed," "Hillbilly Fever" and his only No. 1 hit, 1965's "May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose."
Dickens career was reinvigorated in recent years when Brad Paisley moved to Nashville and the pair became friends. Dickens appeared in several of Paisley's videos, recorded bonus tracks on his albums, taped bits to play at Paisley's live shows and performed with the country star at the Opry many times.
Dickens is survived by his wife of more than 40 years, Mona Dickens, and his daughters, Pamela Detert and Lisa King.