Cal Smith Cause of Death: How the Country Legend Passed Away

Cal Smith was one of the most successful country singers of the 1970s, with hits like “Country Bumpkin” and “It’s Time to Pay the Fiddler”. He was also a former member of Ernest Tubb’s band, the Texas Troubadours, and a respected musician and songwriter. But how did he die and what was his legacy? Here is a brief overview of Cal Smith’s cause of death and his career highlights.

Early Life and Career

Cal Smith was born Calvin Grant Shofner on April 7, 1932, in Gans, Oklahoma. His family moved to California during the Great Depression, where he grew up in San Jose. He started his music career at the age of 15, performing at a local cafe in San Francisco. He also worked as a truck driver and a rodeo rider before joining the military in the mid-1950s.

After his discharge, he resumed his music career and joined a band in the Bay Area. In 1961, he caught the attention of Ernest Tubb, who hired him as a guitarist for his Texas Troubadours. Smith played on many of Tubb’s recordings and also started his solo career in 1966 with Kapp Records. He had his first charting single with “The Only Thing I Want” in 1967.

Rise to Fame and Success

In 1970, Smith signed with Decca Records, which later became MCA Records. He had his first top 10 hit with “I’ve Found Someone of My Own” in 1972, followed by his first number one hit with “The Lord Knows I’m Drinking” in 1973. The song was written by Bill Anderson and caused some controversy for its frank portrayal of alcoholism.

Smith’s biggest hit came in 1974 with “Country Bumpkin”, a sentimental ballad about a simple man and his love story. The song won him the CMA and ACM awards for Single of the Year and Song of the Year. It also became his signature song and a classic of country music. Smith later gave his CMA trophy to Garth Brooks, who said that “Country Bumpkin” was his favorite country song.

Smith had another number one hit with “It’s Time to Pay the Fiddler” in 1975, which was also written by Bill Anderson. He continued to have success throughout the 1970s with songs like “Between Lust and Watching TV”, “She Talked a Lot About Texas”, “I Just Came Home to Count the Memories”, and “Come See About Me”.

Later Years and Death

Smith’s popularity declined in the 1980s, as he faced competition from younger artists and changing trends in country music. He released his last charting single, “King Lear”, in 1986. He then retired from the music industry and moved to Branson, Missouri, where he lived with his wife Darlene.

On October 10, 2013, Cal Smith died at his home near Branson at the age of 81. The cause of death was not disclosed, but according to Billboard, he died of non-communicable disease. The primary cause of his death was alcoholic myocardiopathy, which is a heart condition caused by excessive alcohol consumption. His death was not related to his occupation as a singer.

Smith is survived by his wife, a son, five grandchildren, and 15 great-grandchildren. He is also remembered by his fans and fellow artists as one of the finest country singers of his generation. He was praised for his smooth voice, his authentic style, and his heartfelt songs.


Cal Smith was a country legend who left behind a legacy of hits and awards. He was also a humble and generous man who loved his family and his fans. His cause of death was related to his personal struggle with alcoholism, which he did not hide from his listeners. He was honest and sincere in his music and in his life. He will always be remembered as the country bumpkin who touched many hearts with his songs.

Doms Desk

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