The star's publicist, Johnny Vallis, reveals to The Associated Press Dowell suffered a heart attack last weekend (30-31Jan16) and passed away at a hospital in Bloomington, Illinois on Thursday (04Feb16).

The singer enjoyed a brief stint in the limelight in the early 1960s after covering Elvis Presley's Wooden Heart, which was only released in Europe. The ballad scored Dowell his first and only U.S. Billboard number one single, while his other songs included The Bridge of Love and Little Red Rented Rowboat.

He went on to switch from pop to folk, and then gospel, and later recorded a bicentennial celebration EP for the Boy Scouts of America. He also worked as a voiceover artist and performed a number of radio jingles later in his career.