From his first single’s release in 1984 to his untimely death in 25 years ago this week, he had 19 hit singles.
Whitley’s alcoholism was known through much of the country music community and after he married Lorrie Morgan, she tried to help the singer overcome his addiction. The news of Whitley’s death on May 9, 1989 shook the country world — especially when the cause of death was discovered to be his alcohol dependency.
Allegedly, he had spent the weekend partying and was then discovered fully clothed face down from alcohol poisoning. He was only 34 years old.
Before his death, Whitley made a name for himself in country music with songs like ‘Don’t Close Your Eyes’ and ‘When You Say Nothing At All.’ His first song to climb into the Top 20 was ‘Miami, My Amy’ in 1986. ‘Don’t Close Your Eyes’ was Whitley’s very first No. 1 hit and was quickly followed by several others. ‘When You Say Nothing At All,’ I’m No Stranger To The Rain,’ ‘I Wonder Do You Think Of Me’ and ‘It Ain’t Nothin” were all No. 1 hits immediately after his first.
Despite the fact that Whitley died at such a young age, his music continued well past his lifespan. Whitley’s final studio album was released just a few short months after his death. The album, ‘I Wonder Do You Think Of Me,’ saw two No. 1 hits. The title track and ‘It Ain’t Nothin” proved Whitley’s career was influential in the genre. A tribute album to the singer was completed and Morgan even helped to restore his album ‘Wherever You Are Tonight’ in 1995, several years after his death.