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Johnny Cash, John Ritter Mourned

The entertainment world Friday mourned the passing of legendary country music star Johnny Cash and well-known television actor John Ritter.

Cash, a towering figure in American music, died early Friday at the age of 71.

"Johnny died due to complications from diabetes, which resulted in respiratory failure," said Cash's manager, Lou Robin, in a press release issued by Baptist Hospital in Nashville.

Cash had been released from Baptist on Wednesday where he had spent two weeks being treated for an unspecified stomach ailment.

"I hope that friends and fans of Johnny will pray for the Cash family to find comfort during this very difficult time," Robin said.

Cash's career spanned country, rock and folk.

"Johnny Cash was a giant," Rolling Stone magazine contributing editor Anthony DeCurtis told CBS Radio News. "Johnny Cash was in there at the beginning with Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis and Sam Phillips at Sun Records. Making a record like 'I Walk The Line' really helped define the early days of rock 'n roll."


For more on Johnny Cash's life and death, click here.
Ritter, whose portrayal of the bumbling but lovable Jack Tripper helped make the madcap comedy series "Three's Company" a smash hit in the 1970s, died of a heart problem after falling ill on the set of his new TV sitcom. He was 54.

Ritter became ill Thursday while working on ABC's "8 Simple Rules ... For Dating My Teenage Daughter," said Susan Wilcox, his assistant of 22 years. The show became Ritter's TV comeback vehicle.

He died at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center shortly after 10 p.m. Thursday, six days before his 55th birthday. The cause of death was a tear in the aorta, the result of an unrecognized flaw in his heart, said his publicist, Lisa Kasteler.

"It's just stunning, unbelievable," Wilcox said. "Everybody loved John Ritter. Everybody loved working with him.…Whatever set he was working on, he made it a very fun place."

Ritter, youngest son of Western film star and country musician Tex Ritter and actress Dorothy Fay, came to prominence for his role in "Three's Company" and had appeared in more than 25 television movies, a number of films and on Broadway.


For more on John Ritter's life and death, click here.
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