The star of TV's "Hee Haw" had performed Friday night at his museum and dinner theater, the Crystal Palace, the Bakersfield Californian reported.
A cause of death was not given, but the newspaper noted he had throat cancer surgery in 1993, was previously treated for heart arrhythmia and lung problems and was hospitalized in February with an undisclosed illness.
Although Owens' hardcore honky-tonk sound made him a Nashville outsider, the Texas-born singer recorded 25 No. 1 songs and 26 other tunes that hit the Top 10 with his band, the Buckaroos.
His last No. 1 was a 1988 remake of "Streets of Bakersfield," sung with Dwight Yoakam.
Owens was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1996.
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