Jean Shepard passed away on Sunday (Sept. 25) at the age of 82. She will be honored this week with a funeral and visitation, which will be open for fans to attend and mourn.

Shepard, a Grand Ole Opry icon, entered hospice care late last week. She is survived by her husband, Benny Birchfield, and sons Don Robin Hawkins, Harold Franklin Hawkins II and Corey Birchfield.

A public visitation will be held Thursday (Sept. 29) from noon-8PM, as well as on Friday (Sept. 30) from 11AM-1PM at Hendersonville Funeral Home. Shepard's Celebration of Life service will follow at 1PM. The public is invited to both visitation and service.

Shepard celebrated 60 years as a member of the Opry last year — the only female to reach this milestone. She became a member on November 21, 1955, last appearing on the famed stage on November 21, 2015. In 2011, she was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

“The Opry family is truly saddened by the news of Jean’s passing,” shares Pete Fisher, Vice President, General Manager Grand Ole Opry in a press release. “Although we will miss Jean's presence on the Opry stage, she has left us the wonderful gift of her music which will be remembered for generations to come.”

Shepard was first discovered as a teen by country star Hank Thompson while she was singing and playing bass in the all-girl band she formed, the Melody Ranch Girls. Thompson brought her to the attention of Capitol Records. She would go on to have much success, as her duet "A Dear John Letter" with Ferlin Husky was the first post-World War II country record featuring a female vocalist to sell a million copies. Other popular songs of Shepard's include "Second Fiddle (To an Old Guitar)," "A Satisfied Mind" and "Slippin' Away."

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