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Bluegrass music pioneer Ralph Stanley dies aged 89

Appalachian music patriarch Ralph Stanley, who helped expand and popularise the bluegrass sound, has died at the age of 89.

Stanley was born and raised in south-west Virginia, and formed the Stanley Brothers and their Clinch Mountain Boys with his brother Carter in 1946.

The brothers fused Grand Ole Opry star Bill Monroe's rapid rhythms with the mountain folk of groups such as the Carter Family, and added a distinctive three-part harmony.

Carter Stanley died of liver disease in 1966.

Ralph Stanley's a cappella dirge O Death from the O Brother, Where Art Thou? movie soundtrack introduced him to a new generation of fans in 2000.

He became a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 2000 and won a Grammy for best male country vocal performance in 2002.

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