MIAMI (AP) - Country singer Slim Whitman has died at the age of 90 in Florida.
His son-in-law, Roy Beagle, says Whitman died Wednesday of heart failure.
Whitman's career began in the late 1940s, and his tenor falsetto and ebony mustache and sideburns became global trademarks. They were also an inspiration for countless jokes thanks to the ubiquitous 1980s and 1990s TV commercials that pitched his records.
He was a serious musical influence on early rock. In the British Isles, he was known as a pioneer of country music for popularizing the style there. Whitman also encouraged a teen Elvis Presley when the young singer made his professional debut.
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)