Fred Foster, the producer behind iconic country recordings by artists such as Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton and many others, has died. According to a statement, Foster died peacefully on Wednesday evening (Feb. 20) after suffering a short illness. He was 87 years old.

Born Fred Luther Foster on July 26, 1931, in Rutherford County, N.C., Foster was the youngest of eight children. As an ace Nashville producer, he founded and helmed Monument Records, where he recorded some of country music's most iconic projects. He also founded Combine Music. The company published numerous classics, including Kris Kristofferson's "Me and Bobby McGee" and "Help Me Make it Through the Night," among many others.

Among his many accolades as a producer are Kristofferson's debut album, as well as the 1960s projects that netted Roy Orbison his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Foster's last work was Dawn Landes' 2018 album, Meet Me at the River.

During his life, Foster was inducted into the North Carolina Hall of Fame and the Musicians Hall of Fame. In 2016, he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. He was also the recipient of a Leadership Music Dale Franklin Award.

Foster was preceded in death by his parents, Vance Hampton and Clara Marcella (Weaste) Foster, as well as siblings Albert Glen, Estelle, Charles Vance, Ray, Pauline, Ethel Lou and Ann. Foster is survived by his son, Vance Foster, as well as his daughters, Micki Foster (Greg) Koenig, Leah Foster (Dillon) Alderman, Brit Foster (Judd) Rothstein and Kristen Foster. He is also survived by several grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

A memorial service is being planned for March 2019. Further details will be announced soon.

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