Country Radio Legend Bob Kingsley Dead at 80 From Cancer

By GQ Pan

Bob Kingsley, the celebrated radio voice of country music since the 1970s, died on Oct. 17 in his Texas home after a brief battle with cancer. He was 80 years old.

The National Radio Hall of Famer announced the news of his cancer diagnosis last week on his Country Top 40 website. “I want to let you know that I have been diagnosed with bladder cancer,” Kingsley wrote. “While there is no doubt that the immediate road ahead will push me and challenge my resolve, I want you to know I am blessed to be working with the very best in the medical profession, and they have a plan to deal with this awful disease.”

“The faith you have placed in me is something I treasure, and that support has allowed me to do what I love in this wonderful industry for 60 years,” Kingsley wrote with optimism. “I have no intention of stopping anytime soon, but for a moment, I need to ask for your patience as I step away from the mic and focus on my treatment.”

Kingsley joined the Air Force before working at radio stations in Texas and Los Angeles. He began his radio career at the age of 18, serving as an on-air personality at Armed Forces Radio while stationed in Keflavik, Iceland, according to Billboard. He rose to national prominence in 1978 when he became the host of the popular syndicated program “American Country Countdown.” On that position he stayed almost 30 years, influencing an entire generation of country music listeners.

Kingsley’s career reached another milestone in 2006 when he launched Bob Kingsley’s Country Top 40 with Nan Kingsley, his wife and business partner of 30 years. The show that runs on over 300 stations around the world ultimately secured Kingsley’s place in the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2016.

Fans, friends, and colleagues took to social media to mourn the loss of the beloved country music broadcaster.

“Rest In Peace to Bob Kingsley,” wrote country radio host Bobby Bones on Twitter. “I spent many weekends as a kid listening to his countdown. And spent many occasions as I got older telling him how much I admired him. This picture is just one of those occasions. Rest easy friend.”

“Today I lost a longtime great friend and we lost a beautiful human named Bob Kingsley,” wrote country music star Keith Urban on Twitter. “Every memory I have of being with Bob (and Nan) is one of rare warmth and grace. I will miss you dearly Bob- peace be with your spirit, and blessings & peace be with your family today.”

A funeral service will be held in Nashville on Nov. 14 at The CMA Theater at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, according to Billboard.