Did you know that on this day in Country Music History in 1997 John Denver died in a plane crash?

Sadly, it’s true. It happened near Monterey, California, when the engine quit on the test plane he was piloting. Denver left a string of folk-influenced pop-country hits, including "Thank God I'm A Country Boy," "Annie's Song" and "Back Home Again".

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Here are 5 interesting facts about John Denver’s life.

  • He was born Henry John Deutschendorf Jr., on December 31, 1943, in Roswell, New Mexico, to parents Henry John and Erma.
  • As a teenager, he received his first guitar, a 1910 Gibson acoustic, as a gift from his grandmother.
  • He attended the Texas Technical University from 1961-1964, but dropped out before completing his studies.
  • He was personally appointed by President Jimmy Carter to the commission on World and Domestic Hunger. He became a chair member of the National UNICEF Day in 1984.
  • In 1967, he married Anne Marie Martell, a psychotherapist. Together they had two children, Zachary and Anna Kate, before their divorce in 1983. He was married to Cassandra Delaney from 1988 to 1991. Together they had one child, Jesse Bell.