Charlie Robison, Country Singer and 'Nashville Star' Judge, Dead at 59

The musician — who was previously married to Emily Strayer, a founding member of The Chicks — was forced to retire in 2018 after an operation left him unable to sing

<p>AP Photo/Ed Rode</p> Country music artist Charlie Robison poses for a photo in Nashville, Tenn., June 30, 2009.

AP Photo/Ed Rode

Country music artist Charlie Robison poses for a photo in Nashville, Tenn., June 30, 2009.

Charlie Robison, the country music singer-songwriter and judge on the reality competition show Nashville Star, died in San Antonio, Texas on Sunday. He was 59.

“It is with a heavy heart that I share the news that my husband, Charlie Robison has passed away today, surrounded by his family and friends,” his wife, Kristen Robison, wrote on Facebook. “My heart is broken. Please pray for me, our children and our family.”

The musician died from cardiac arrest and other complications at a hospital, a family representative told the Associated Press.

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<p>Rick Diamond/Getty Images</p> Charlie Robison performs at Texas Thunder Festival 2013 - Day 1 on May 17, 2013 in Gardendale, Texas.

Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Charlie Robison performs at Texas Thunder Festival 2013 - Day 1 on May 17, 2013 in Gardendale, Texas.

Robison was born in Houston, Texas, and grew up in Bandera, a town in the Texas Hill Country, according to Variety. He began his musical career in the 1980s, playing in local Austin bands before forming his own group, the Millionaire Playboys.

In 1996, Robison released his solo debut album Bandera, named after the Texas city where Robison's family has ranched for eight generations since the 1840s. Eight albums continued over the course of his career, including his final album — 2013's High Life,  which famously featured a cover version of Bob Dylan’s “When I Paint My Masterpiece.”

His most successful LP was Step Right Up, released in 2011. It featured his only Top 40 Country hit, “I Want You Bad," which spent 20 weeks on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts and peaked at No. 35. The album itself made it to No. 27 on the Top Country Albums chart.

Robison was a judge on the first season of Nashville Star, the TV singing competition that debuted on the USA Network in 2003. Talent manager Tracy Gershon and music journalist Robert K. Oermann sat on the panel alongside him.

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In 2018, Robinson had a medical procedure left him unable to sing. He retired from music that same year, penning a message about it on his Facebook page.

"At the beginning of this year, I underwent a surgical procedure that because of complications left me with the permanent inability to sing," he wrote. "Therefore, with a very heavy heart I am officially retiring from the the stage and studio."

<p>Randall Michelson/WireImage</p> Charlie Robison

Randall Michelson/WireImage

Charlie Robison

'Gonna keep it short but just wanted y’all to hear it from me. It’s been an amazing ride and I cannot tell you all what the last 25 years has meant to me, he continued. "I was looking forward to another 25 but as they say 's--- happens.' I thank you all for everything you’ve given me and I hope I was able to give you a fraction of the happiness you gave me. It was a hell of a ride, but as they say, all good things must end."

"Keep on supporting this thing we call Texas/Red dirt and hopefully we’ll all get to have a cocktail or two and talk about the good ol' days," Robinson concluded. "Until then, Buenos Noches. It’s been fun. Love each and every one of y’all."

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In his personal life, Robinson was wed to Emily Strayer — one of the original members of the country band, The Chicks — from 1999 to 2008. The have three children together: Charles "Gus" Augustus, called "Gus", 20, and 18-year-old twins Julianna Tex and Henry Benjamin.

The country star married Kristen in 2015, becoming a stepdad to her children. The two had a son together, Jett James, in February 2020. Kristen did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

On Sunday, The Chicks announced that they'd be moving Tuesday's concert at the Canada Life Centre in Winnipeg up to Monday "due to an urgent family matter."

Funeral plans for Robinson have not yet been announced.

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