Michael Johnson, the singer of the 1970s and '80s country hits "Give Me Wings" and "Bluer Than Blue," has died. Johnson passed away on Tuesday (July 25) at age 72.

Johnson's official website reports that the singer died after a long battle with an unnamed illness. Since his passing, there has been an outpouring of love for the artist through his website's message board.

Born on Aug. 8, 1944, in Colorado, Johnson began playing guitar as a teenager. He enrolled at Colorado State University, but two years later, he won an international talent competition, the prize for which was a record deal with Epic Records, and dropped out to pursue music full time. Johnson would later study at Barcelona's Liceu Conservatory.

During the late 1960s, Johnson worked with a number of musical groups and even took a role in an off-Broadway play. In 1971, he signed with Atco Records; his first album, There Is a Breeze, was released in 1973. Throughout his life, Johnson released more than a dozen albums, including his most recent, 2012's Moonlit Deja Vu.

Johnson's country hits include "Give Me Wings" and "The Moon Is Still Over Her Shoulder;" both songs landed in the No. 1 spot on the country charts. Johnson's pop successes include the song "Bluer Than Blue," which peaked at No. 12 on the pop charts and was on top of the Adult Contemporary chart for three weeks. Rolling Stone reports that "Blue Than Blue" was also one of the first 20 music videos to ever be played on MTV.

"He was not just a great guitar player, but he had a great stage presence as well," one of Johnson's long time friends, Phil Kaufman, tells Rolling Stone. "He would do these little riffs that guitar players would kill for."

Johnson leaves behind three children, a daughter and two sons. More information about the late singer can be found on his website.

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