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Country-pop singer B.W. Stevenson dies

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Country-pop singer-songwriter B.W. Stevenson, best known for his 1970s hits 'My Maria' and 'Shambala,' died of heart disease Thursday at Veteran's Hospital. He was 38.

The Dallas-born musician had undergone heart surgery Monday, said family friend Betsy Bass. He had been ill for two months, she said.

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Stevenson, born Louis Charles Stevenson III, was known as B.W. which stood for Buckwheat.

Stevenson had enjoyed some pop success with 'River Of Love' and other singles in the 1970s. He was the originator of 'Shambala,' a chart topper for Three Dog Night.

He was part of the progressive country music movement that sprang up in Austin, Texas, in the mid-1970s and included Willie Nelson, Michael Murphey and Jerry Jeff Walker.

Stevenson moved to Nashville last October and five months ago he and his wife Jan became the parents of a son. He had two other children by a previous marriage.

The body will be transported to Dallas for services.

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