George Jones has died age 81.

The country music legend suffered a health scare on April 18, when he was hospitalised in Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, for a severe fever and irregular blood pressure, from which he failed to recover, passing away today (26.04.13).

The 'He Stopped Loving Her Today' singer was one of the most recognisable and influential voices in country music, cited as an influence by performers as diverse as Frank Sinatra, Pete Townshend, Elvis Costello and James Taylor.

Paying tribute on Twitter, modern country star Tim Mcgraw wrote: ''Gone ...... George Jones he was country music (sic).''

King of Leon's Nathan Followill echoed his sentiment, adding: ''RIP George Jones, you'll be sorely missed. One of the all time greats. #allpossumsgotoheaven(sic).''

Singer Scotty Mccreery tweeted: ''RIP George Jones. A country music legend who will be truly missed (sic).''

George had made over 150 records in a 50-year-career, which saw him score US number one singles in every decade from the 50s to the 90s, including 'White Lightning', 'She Thinks I Still Care', 'Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes', 'The Race is On' and 'I Don't Need Your Rockin' Chair'.

Two time Grammy award winner George - who was also a member of the country music Hall of Fame - was taken ill shortly before embarking upon a tour, after which he was planning to retire, forcing him to cancel several dates.

The singer's personal life reflected the hard living described in his songs, and he had well publicised battles with alcoholism and drug addiction as well as close encounters with death, including bypass surgery and a tour bus crash, which he narrowly avoided by deciding at the last moment to take a plane.

George was married four times, including a six-year union to fellow country music singer Tammy Wynette. He is survived by four children and his fourth wife, whom he was with for 30 years, Nancy Sepulvado.