Published: Jun 15, 2010
Donna Meade Dean, Jimmy Dean Widow: 'Give me Privacy!'
by Staff

Octogenarian country music singer-turned-successful sausage entrepreneur Jimmy Dean died of natural causes Sunday night at his Virginia home, his wife said.

"I definitely need my privacy right now, and am not available for interviews," Donna Dean told Richmond's WTVR-TV. "My husband died of natural causes, and funeral services are pending."

Beverly Donati, a longtime friend of the family, said Jimmy Dean had been "weak for awhile now" but she was still surprised by his passing. He reportedly died while watching television.

"He was just a very unique human being, one that comes along not very often," Donati told reporters.

Dean had a slew of hits, starting with 1961's "Big Bad John" and from there went into business, peddling the sausage brand that bears his name. He recently was voted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. His induction was to take place later in the year.

Donna Meade Dean was a singer and songwriter before she met Jimmy and became his second wife. They married in 1991. She is credited for helping Dean write his autobiography '30 Years of Sausage, 50 Years of Ham' in 2004.

Jimmy Dean's public funeral is set for this Sunday and Monday, with eight hours of visitation, reports the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

He will be laid to rest in a granite grand piano mausoleum overlooking the James River. She said the couple ordered the 9-1/2 foot long $350,000 piano-shaped tomb several years ago. It has room for only one casket, so she had told Dean that if she went first he could "have me cremated and put me in your pocket," she told the paper.

"He'd always said he would never want to leave his beloved Chaffin's Bluff," said his widow.

Go here to read more! Watch a video slideshow and enjoy the sound of a young Dean singing his signature hit "Big John". Rest in peace, Big Jim!

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