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Guitarist for Willie Nelson dies at 77

Jody Payne, a guitarist who toured with Willie Nelson for more than three decades, died from cardiac problems. (The Associated Press)

Jody Payne, a guitarist who toured with Willie Nelson for more than three decades, died from cardiac problems. (The Associated Press)

STAPLETON, Ala. – Jody Payne, a guitarist who toured with Willie Nelson for more than three decades, has died. He was 77.

Baldwin County Coroner Stan Zinson says Payne died at 5:12 a.m. Saturday at a hospital from cardiac problems. He says Payne got up early in his house in Stapleton, Ala., feeling ill, and his wife called an ambulance.

He says Payne had a long history of cardiac problems.

According to a 2011 profile in The Mobile Press-Register, Payne toured with Nelson from 1973 to 2008. He retired to Stapleton with his wife, Vicki. There he continued playing music, teaching the guitar at a local music store.

A post on Willie’s Nelson’s Facebook page about Payne’s death said, “Our friend will be missed.”

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