Country music singer and songwriter K.T. Oslin, best known for her 1987 hit “80s Ladies,” died Monday, about a week after being diagnosed with COVID-19, according to multiple reports. She was 78.
Oslin had been battling Parkinson’s disease before her death, Rolling Stone reported, citing her friend, journalist Robert K. Oermann. She was diagnosed last week with COVID-19, according to the magazine.
Oermann told the Tennessean that it was not immediately clear whether COVID-19 contributed to Oslin’s death. The newspaper reported she had been staying in an assisted-living facility since 2016.
Oslin was born Kay Toinette Oslin in Crossett, Arkansas on May 15, 1942. In the years before she gained national fame for “80s Ladies,” she spent years in the cast of “Hello Dolly!” on Broadway and on the road, according to the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Oslin was in her 40s when she released her debut album in 1987, Billboard reported. The album produced a string of hits, including “80s Ladies,” “Do Ya” and “I’ll Always Come Back.”
In 1988, “80s Ladies” earned Oslin a coveted Song of the Year award from the Country Music Association, making her the first female songwriter to earn the distinction. On Monday, Country Music Association CEO Sarah Trahern remembered Oslin as “one of the most soulful voices in Country Music and a strong influence for women.”
“I was fortunate to work with K.T. on a number of television shows in the late 90s. She was always gracious to the crews and up-and-coming talent performing alongside her,” Trahern said. “She truly had one of the best voices in the history of our format.”
Over the course of her career, Oslin also won a trio of Grammy Awards for her songs. She was inducted into the Texas Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2014 and into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2018.