Andy Williams, singer of popular hit songs such as “Moon River,” “The Hawaiian Wedding Song,” and “Lonely Street,” has passed away at the age of 84, reports the Los Angeles Times. The singer, whose professional recording career began in the 1940’s, had been diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2011.
Raised in Wall Lake, Iowa, Andy Williams and his three brothers debuted professionally as the Williams Brothers Quartet when Andy was only eight-years-old. The group was a regular on local radio stations and eventually snagged the attention of Bing Crosby, who helped them make their first professional recording, “Swinging on a Star.”
Williams continued to pursue his vocal career after the quartet separated in 1951, and according to the official Andy Williams website, a move to New York helped Williams become a regular on the Tonight Show with Steve Allen. Williams gained his own television show in the 1960’s, The Andy Williams Show, a turning point in his career, which made him an international star.
“The old cliche says that if you can remember the 1960s, you weren’t there,” News Day reports the singer once recalled. “Well, I was there all right, but my memory of them is blurred — not by any drugs I took but by the relentless pace of the schedule I set myself.”
Prior to his death, Andy Williams opened and operated his own state-of-the-art theater as well as a restaurant with a menu featuring many of his mother’s favorite recipes. Williams and his wife Debbie resided just a few miles away from the theater in Branson, Missouri, in a home overlooking Lake Taneycomo.
William’s publicist, Paul Shefrin, told the media the singer passed away at home after a year-long battle with bladder cancer, a condition the Mayo Clinic indicates is characterized by back pain, pelvic pain, frequent and painful urination, as well as blood in the urine. Experts are unclear exactly what causes bladder cancer; however, it is believed lifestyle choices are involved, as well as smoking habits, parasitic infection, chemical exposure and radiation.
The condition is rarely found in people under the age of 40, but it can occur at any age. It is more common in men and non-Hispanic whites; and is more frequently seen among diabetics taking the medication Actos.
More than 73,000 men and women will be diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2012 estimates the National Cancer Institute, with the condition responsible for more than 14,000 deaths during that calendar year.