B.J. Thomas, the acclaimed singer best known for hits like “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head,” “Hooked on a Feeling” and “(Hey Won’t You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song,” announced his diagnosis of stage four lung cancer.
“I just wanted to take this unique opportunity to share my gratitude to Gloria, my wonderful wife and my rock for over 53 years, my family, friends and fans,” he said in a statement released on his social media.
Thomas also said he’s currently receiving treatment in Texas.
“I’m so blessed to have had the opportunity to record and perform beautiful songs in pop, country and gospel music, and to share those wonderful songs and memories around the world with millions of you,” he wrote. “I ask all of you for your prayers during this time and that my music can live on with you.”
Thomas’ chart-topping career launched in 1966 when his cover of Hank Williams’ “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” sold more than a million copies. In 1968, “Hooked on a Feeling” sold another million copies, reaching No. 5 on the Hot 100 chart.
Just a year later, it was Dionne Warwick who convinced songwriters Burt Bacharach and Hal David, who were working on music for the 1969 movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, to consider having Thomas sing the main theme, “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head.” Bacharach had already asked Bob Dylan and Ray Stevens and been turned down by both, so he offered it to Thomas, who stepped in and made the song an enormous hit. It shot to No. 1 and earned Thomas a Grammy in 1970 for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. He gathered another four performance Grammys in the span of three years between 1977-80 and a Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 2014.
Through the next several decades, he released multiple country and gospel albums. His most recent LP, The Living Room Sessions, an unplugged, acoustic record arrived in 2013 and reached No. 39 on the Top Country Albums chart. Thomas has continued to perform regular shows in recent years, noting that he’s not quite ready for retirement.
“If I reach a point where I don’t feel like I’m performing as well, I guess that could happen,” he told the Arizona Republic in 2019. “I am getting older; it’s inevitable my throat is aging as well. Maybe there will come a time at some point, but, you know, as long as I’m really having fun and I still do have a major motivation to do it, I just want to do it.”