Country star Hal Ketchum, who found fame in the ’1990s with the critically acclaimed album “Past The Point of Rescue,” passed away at home, according to a report in The New York Post entitled “Country singer Hal Ketchum dead at 67 after battle with dementia.”
Hal Ketchum ’s wife Andrea shared the news on his Facebook page, writing: “With great sadness and grief, we announce that Hal passed away peacefully last night at home due to complications of dementia. “May his music live on forever in your hearts and bring you peace. Andrea.”
Ketchum was diagnosed with acute transverse myelitis, an ailment of the spinal column, which forced him to relearn basic tasks, such as how to walk and play the guitar.
However, he continued to record and would often hit the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts. Ketchum sold more than five million records in his career. His two most famous songs were “Small Town Saturday Night” and “Hearts Are Gonna Roll.”
He has had his songs recorded by many artists, including Trisha Yearwood and Neal Diamond. Hal Ketchum earned five million-air awards from BMI, acknowledging those songs that have been broadcast over one million times.
In 2019 his wife announced he was suffering from early on-set senile dementia and would no longer be touring.
“Dementia is an exhausting and confusing illness and now it’s time for Hal to stay home with loved ones,” she shared, saying that he was glad to be at home with friends and family.
Dementia is more frequently found in people over the age of 65. However, it can also affect younger people. Early onset of the disease can start when people are in their 30s, 40s, or 50s. Treatment and early diagnosis can slow the progression of the disease and maintain mental function.
Ketchum’s family organized a benefit concert in January 2020 to help with medical bills and raised over $20,000.
“Hal has sung his last tune for us on this earthly plane of existence,” read the description of the concert, according to The Sun.
“He can no longer tour or make records to support his family. Now it’s time for us to step up and help with the almost insurmountable medical bills and living expenses that are piling up.”
Ketchum became an addict at 15 after losing his mom to MS. He started with alcohol and moved on to drugs, including cocaine. However, he became sober in 1997, after spending a month at the Betty Ford Clinic. He married his wife Andrea in 2014.
Reference: New York Post (Nov. 24, 2020) “Country singer Hal Ketchum dead at 67 after battle with dementia”