John Denver Dies in Plane Crash

Singer/songwriter's aircraft went down Sunday

October 14, 1997 12:00 AM ET

Singer/songwriter John Denver, who wrote "Leaving on a Jet Plane," "Thank God I'm a Country Boy" and many other country-pop hits, died Sunday at the age of 53 when the plane he was flying went down in Monterey Bay.

Officials from the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are still searching for answers about what might have made the single-engine craft go down. Meanwhile, the White House issued a statement paying tribute to the singer's "soaring music," which touched millions.

Though Denver's commercial fortunes have waned since the '70s, he was a best-selling artist in his prime. Fourteen of his albums have gone gold, signifying sales of 500,000 copies, and eight of them have gone platinum, signifying sales of a million copies. And though his laid-back music never caught on with critics, he had a string of hit singles that lasted through the decade including "Take Me Home, Country Roads," "Rocky Mountain High," "Annie's Song," and "Back Home Again."

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