Bluegrass legend Dr. Ralph Stanley dead at 89

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Dr. Ralph Stanley perfoms at a campaign event for former Sen. John Edwards at the University of South Carolina - Lancaster January 23, 2008 in Lancaster, South Carolina. South Carolina holds its Democratic primary this Saturday. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Bluegrass music legend and distinguished Virginia Dr. Ralph Stanley passed away Thursday, his son Nathan Stanley posted on Facebook. Stanley was 89.

“My heart is broken into pieces. My papaw, my dad, and the greatest man in the world, Dr. Ralph Stanley has went home to be with Jesus just a few minutes ago,” Nathan Stanley wrote. “He went peacefully in his sleep due to a long, horrible battle with Skin Cancer. I feel so lost and so alone right now. He was my world, and he was my everything.”

Stanley, a Dickenson County native and Grand Ole Opry inductee, began his career in music in 1946 as the leader of the Clinch Mountain Boys, the Herald Courier reported.

“My Papaw was loved by millions of fans from all around the world, and he loved all of you. If he was singing and on stage, he was happy,” his son continued. “That’s why I did so much to make it possible for him to travel in the last two years. Because he wanted to. Please keep me and my family in your prayers.”

Stanley won the 2002 Grammy Award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance for his version of “O Death.” The song was featured in the movie O Brother, Where Art Thou?.

“This is the hardest thing I have ever had to face in my life,” Nathan Stanley wrote. “The only thing that gives me peace, is knowing he is in paradise and I’ll see my best friend again. I love you papaw with all of my heart. As long as I live and breathe, your legacy will never die. You will forever be in my heart.”