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Bonnie Brown Ring, a founding member of the family trio band The Browns and a Country Music Hall of Famer, has died after battling lung Cancer. The news was confirmed from the Country Music Hall of Fame on Saturday (7/16) afternoon. She was 77-years-old.
It was first announced that Bonnie Brown was suffering from Stage IV Adenocarcinoma in her right lung in September of 2015. On July 2nd, 2016 the family had asked for prayers for Bonnie after she was admitted to critical care due to issues with a blood clot.
Born Bonnie Jean Brown on July 31, 1938, she was the youngest member of the country and folk trio that rose to prominence in the mid and late 50’s, principally with their Grammy-nominated song “The Three Bells” which became a #1 hit on Billboard’s country and pop charts, and eventually sold over 1 million copies.
Formed in Pine Bluff, Arkansas after brother and sister Jim Ed and Maxine Brown signed a record deal as a singing duo, The Browns got their big break on Ernest Tubb’s radio show after singing their original song “Looking Back to See.” After the 18-year-old Bonnie graduated high school, she joined the act as well and they began performing regularly on the Louisiana Hayride and the Ozark Jubilee. As the family band continued to perform and release music, their prominence only grew, eventually making appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show and American Bandstand. Some of the trio’s other hits included “Scarlet Ribbons,” “The Old Lamplighter,” and a version of “Blue Christmas.”
In 1963, The Browns became members of the Grand Ole Opry, and in March of 2015, the band was announced as inductees into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Bonnie’s brother Jim Ed died three months later, also of lung Cancer. Unlike her other two siblings, Bonnie Brown did not pursue a solo career when the band disbanded in 1967, but continued to perform upon occasion.
Bonnie Brown’s daughter Kelly Ring is an evening news anchor at WTVT-TV in Tampa, Florida.
No funeral arrangements have been announced at this time.