He was a long-time advocate for songwriters.
On March 27, 2018, Kenny O'Dell died of natural causes in a healthcare facility in Cool Springs outside of Nashville. He was 73 years old, as reported by Faith Family America.
The Grammy award winner was married to guitarist Corki Casey O'Dell, who died at the age of 80 in 2017. The couple shared three children.
Bart Herbison, the NSAI Executive Director, said that O'Dell failed after his wife passed away.
Herbison is a close friend of the late singer, who was one of the longest-serving members of the board of directors for the Nashville Songwriters Association International.
"I'm not sure Kenny ever got over losing his wife. That was hard for him and wore it," Herbison said.
He added that O'Dell was very proud when he was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.
He was even prouder when he was inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame, Herbison said.
The Executive Director went on to say that O'Dell was one of his favorite people and songwriters ever. He described him as a lovely man.
O'Dell was best known for writing the two of country's classic hits, Behind Closed Doors, which Charlie Rich recorded, and Mama He's Crazy for The Judds.
In 1973, the number one single, Behind Closed Doors, won a Grammy Award for Best Country & Western Recording.
Born Kenneth Guy Gist, Jr. on June 21, 1944, in Antlers, Oklahoma, O'Dell first moved to Nashville when he was 25-years-old.
He then changed his name to O'Dell because it was easier to pronounce, according to Faith Family America.
At the age of 13, he was already a songwriter. After he graduated his high school education, he launched his own record label called Mar-Kay.
O'Dell wrote songs for several singers, including Dottie West, Tanya Tucker, and Kenny Rogers.
He also released his own albums. In 1967, his single, Beautiful People, reached number 38 on the Billboard Top 40, while Let's Shake Hands and Come Out Lovin became a top 10 country hit in 1978.
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