DIARY - 13 MACH 2005 - CHRIS LEDOUX RIP
LEDOUX TAKES FINAL FALL AT 56
BORN BILOXI, MISSISSIPPI - OCTOBER 2, 1948
DIED CASPER, WYOMING - MARCH 9, 2005.
CANCER CLAIMS RODEO RIDING COUNTRY STAR
tape of Chris LeDoux, lonely women and bad booze/seem to be the only friends
I've left at all." - Much Too Young To Feel This Damn Old - Garth
rodeo rider turned country star Chris LeDoux lost on his final ride
- a spirited battle with liver cancer.
LeDoux, 56, underwent a liver transplant in October, 2000, and returned
to touring to promote his hefty catalogue of more than 30 albums.
He checked into Wyoming Medical Centre earlier this week following
complications from his cancer and was with family and friends at the
time of his death.
LeDoux suffered from a rare liver disease, primary sclerosing cholangitis.
And in November 2004, the popular singing cowboy confirmed he had
been diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma, a slow-growing cancer of the
it's going to be tough" LeDoux said when he cancelled shows.
"But I'm confident that I can put this behind me and get back to
my regular ranch and concert schedule. It's been a little bit of a roller-coaster
ride for about three years. There's been a couple of operations since,
nothing major. But it does get you down. In the past three months, I've
been feeling great. Maybe overdoing some things just sort of knocks you
down for a while. You rest up for a while and you can try it again."
LeDoux lived on a Wyoming ranch with his family.
It was the end of the road for the courageous cowboy who soared to fame
after being name checked in Much Too Young To Feel This Damn Old-
a major hit by Oklahoma born superstar Garth Brooks.
He and Brooks teamed up for the Top 10 hit, Whatcha Gonna Do With a
Cowboy, in 1992.
"To me, Garth he's kind of like my guardian angel," LeDoux said
of his success.
"It's like every time I need some help, he's there. With that mention
from Garth in the song, we signed with Capitol Records and got it all
going. That was a wonderful time, but it was pretty wild. Garth was exploding
all over the place." "
FROM BILOXI TO AUSTIN AND BEYOND
LeDoux was born in Biloxi, Mississippi, but raised in Austin, Texas.
His father was an Air Force pilot who moved the family throughout
While spending time in Texas and Wyoming, LeDoux gained an interest
in music and the rodeo.
He began playing guitar and harmonica and writing songs in his teens
and used music skills to help pay for his rodeo entry fees.
In 1976, he earned the title of world champion bareback rider from
the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA).
LeDoux began dabbling at songwriting while in high school and started
recording and releasing his own albums in 1973.
songs about cowboys, the rigors of the rodeo circuit and adopted home
With titles such as Old Cowboy Heroes, Rodeo Songs and Wild
and Wooly, LeDoux's music was aimed directly at the rodeo and cowboy
Selling the tapes at rodeos, LeDoux built a devoted fan base that would
continue to support him for more than three decades.
By 1989, LeDoux had released 22 albums.
They were mostly cassettes produced by his parents, which he sold at concerts
He had a loyal fan base.
eventually signed with Brooks' record label, Capitol.
Capitol eventually reissued virtually all of the titles from LeDoux's
Lucky Man catalogue.
His first Capitol album, Western Underground, was released
His second Capitol release, Whatcha Gonna Do With a Cowboy,
featured Brooks on the title track.
Peaking at #7 in 1992, it was LeDoux's only Top 10 single.
LeDoux later performed duets with others, including a 1994 pairing
with Toby Keith on Copenhagen and a 1999 collaboration with
Jon Bon Jovi on Bang a Drum.
sales of more than 6 million albums, LeDoux is the subject of numerous
the most comprehensive are American Cowboy (1972-94), a three-CD
set highlighting his earliest work, and The Capitol Collection
(1990-2000), featuring six previously-released albums and bonus tracks.
In 2003, he released the album Horsepower but received minimal
airplay in his latter days.
The theme of Horsepower showed a well-developed maturity.
One Less Tornado was the saga of a rodeo cowboy who dies in a confrontation
with an ornery bull.
He sang about a baby destined to rope and ride on A Cowboy Was Born.
The Buffalo Grass was a wistful, melancholy ode to loneliness
and heartbreak in the plains.
"Well, they don't play us anyway," he said of radio after
he became ill.
"You gotta be yourself when it all comes down to it. If radio
plays you, that's wonderful. But if they don't, as long as you're
being yourself, as long as you're being true, you'll be satisfied.
But if you're blowing kisses at radio all the time and you're doing
stuff you hate, you will end up miserable."
During a trip to Tennessee in 2003, Capitol Nashville presented him
with a plaque for his career record sales.
LeDoux was elated with the award but was frank about his future.
made me more aware of a lot of stuff," the singer recently revealed.
always feel you are kind of bulletproof, and then something like that
happens and you learn to look at things more emotionally. It's strange
the effect it has on you, but it's a good effect. You do a lot of thinking
after something like that, too. You think about dying. But I finally came
to the conclusion that at some point, we are all going to die. So why
are you even worried about it?"
LeDoux displayed a candour until near the end.
"I couldn't have done this without the help of a lot of people,"
he revealed on a recent trip to Nashville.
"They gently nudged this lazy old cowboy along to get out there and
do this for a living. If it weren't for them, I'd be singing to the sheep
and the cows still."
/ back to diary