Hank Williams has been posthumously awarded a special Pulitzer prize.

The country music pioneer - who died in 1953 aged 29 - has been given the accolade in recognition of his lifetime's achievement as a musician.

The board behind the Special Citiation said it was given for: "His craftsmanship as a songwriter who expressed universal feelings with poignant simplicity and played a pivotal role in transforming country music into a major musical and cultural force in American life."

Williams' songs, such as 'Your Cheatin' Heart', 'I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry' and 'Jambalaya' helped define and further the country music genre and have been re-recorded many times in a range of styles in the years since his death.

Sig Gissler, administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes, said: "The citation, above all, recognises the lasting impact of Williams as a creative force that influenced a wide range of other musicians and performers.

"At the same time, the award highlights the board's desire to broaden its Music Prize and recognise the full range of musical excellence that might not have been considered in the past."

The prestigious Pulitzer Special Citations for the arts have only been awarded ten times previously, mainly to composers.

Jazz artist Thelonious Monk was awarded a citation in 2006, John Coltrane in 2007 and folk singer Bob Dylan was given the award in 2008.