Beloved Country Legend Maxine Brown Has Died

Country Music Hall of Fame

Country Music Hall of Famer and Grand Ole Opry member Maxine Brown Russell passed away Monday (January 21) in Little Rock, Arkansas, from complications of heart and kidney disease. Russell was 87 years old and was in hospice care surrounded by family at the time of her death.

Maxine was the last surviving member of the legendary sibling trio The Browns. Maxine, along with her brother, Jim Ed, and sister, Bonnie, rose to fame in the 1950’s with a series of hit songs, including their chart-topping single “The Three Bells.”

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

The Browns joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1963. Two years later, Jim Ed began recording as a solo artist for RCA Victor. His solo success eventually overshadowed that of the trio and the group disbanded in 1968. Maxine sang lead vocal on the group’s final singles released in 1968, “Big Daddy” and “I Will Bring You Water.” After the group’s split, Maxine signed with Chart Records in 1969, resulting in a small hit with “Sugar Cane County”.

In October 2015, Maxine, Bonnie and Jim Ed were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, just a few months after Jim Ed passed away from lung cancer at the age of 81. Bonnie died the following year at the age of 77.

The heartbreaking news of Maxine’s death was announced on social media Monday (January 21).

So sorry to hear of the passing of Maxine Brown Russell. According to a new release from publicist and my Martha Moore…

Posted by Jim Quinton on Monday, 21 January 2019

It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Maxine. The Browns are reunited and singing with the angels tonight. Our loss is heavens gain. Enjoy one of their favorites. https://youtu.be/UXDqqBd_2t4

Posted by Jim Ed Brown on Monday, 21 January 2019

We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Country Music Hall of Fame member Maxine Brown of "Jim Ed Brown and The Browns". Our thoughts are with her family during this difficult time.

Posted by CMA Country Music Association on Monday, 21 January 2019

Russell was preceded in death by her parents, Floyd and Birdie Brown, sisters Bonnie Ring and Norma Sullivan, brothers Jim Ed Brown and Raymond Brown, and her son Tommy H. Russell, Jr.  She is survived by two children, Jimmy Russell (Mary) and Alicia Short (Curtis), six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends.