September 26, 2012 / 2:20 PM / in 5 years

Singer Andy Williams dies at age 84

Singer Andy Williams performs "Moon River" during a gala salute July 22, 2001 in Beverly Hills honoring comedian Milton Berle's 93rd birthday and his 88th year in show business.Fred Prouser

(Reuters) - Crooner Andy Williams has died at age 84 at his home in Branson, Missouri, his family said on Wednesday.

Williams, who had been suffering from bladder cancer for a year, died on Tuesday evening, his family said in a statement.

Known for his hit renditions of "Moon River" and "Born Free," Williams hosted "The Andy Williams Show" on NBC for nearly a decade. The show then became an annual Christmas special.

Williams became entangled in a scandal when his ex-wife Claudine Longet was accused in 1976 of fatally shooting her lover, ski racer Spider Sabich.

The singer announced last year at an appearance at the Moon River Theater in Branson that he was suffering from cancer.

Williams, who grew up in Wall Lake, Iowa, made his professional singing debut at age 8 with his three brothers as part of the Williams Brothers Quartet.

Featured on radio stations nationwide, the brothers eventually drew the attention of Bing Crosby, who joined them to record the 1944 hit "Swinging on a Star."

Reporting by Ellen Wulfhorst and Barbara Goldberg; Writing by Ellen Wulfhorst; Editing by Vicki Allen

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