US & Canada

Country star Little Jimmy Dickens dies aged 94

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Media captionLittle Jimmy Dickens had novelty hits like May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose

Renowned American country music singer-songwriter Little Jimmy Dickens has died at the age of 94.

His spokeswoman Jessie Schmidt said Dickens died on Friday of cardiac arrest after suffering a stroke on Christmas Day.

His novelty songs, including May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose, earned him a spot in the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1983.

He is also credited with introducing rhinestone suits to country music.

Dickens was the oldest member of the Grand Ole Opry, a weekly music concert broadcast live on US radio from Nashville, Tennessee.

He had performed almost continuously on the show since 1948, making his last performance on 20 December last year to celebrate his 94th birthday.

'One-of-a-kind'

Pete Fisher, vice-president of the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, said the show "did not have a better friend than Little Jimmy Dickens".

"He was a one-of-a-kind entertainer and a great soul whose spirit will live on for years to come," he added.

Despite being just just 4ft 11in (1.5m) tall, Dickens said he had never been self-conscious about his height.

"It's been very good for me. I've made fun of it, and get a laugh here and there," he said in a 2009 interview.

Country star Brad Paisley, who performed with Dickens several times, said he had an "incredible and unique place in country music history".

"It is with a heavy heart that I say goodbye to my hero and friend today. I loved you Jimmy," he tweeted.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Singer Barbara Mandrell presented Dickens with a place in the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1983
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption He performed regularly with US country star Brad Paisley, who described him as "my hero and friend"

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