Johnny Cash's wife passes away after complications following heart surgery...

JUNE CARTER CASH, country star, singer, songwriter, actress, author and wife of JOHNNY CASH, died yesterday (May 15) in NASHVILLE, aged 73.

June, who had been in the process of recording a new album, died of complications following heart surgery at Baptist Hospital. She underwent surgery on May 7 to replace a heart valve.

One of her final public appearances had been at an awards ceremony in April, where she accepted a career achievement award on behalf of her husband, who had recently returned home after being hospitalised for pneumonia. The couple, who were married in 1968, had sung together on stage for the last time last September, at the Americana Music Awards in Nashville.

Valerie June Carter was born on June 23, 1929 in Virginia into a musical family that helped to define country music.

Her first public performance was alongside her sisters Helen and Anita on a radio show, and her early career was performing with The Carter Family. She went on to tour and perform on radio with her mother and sisters as the The Carter Sisters.

Established as a star of the Grand Ole Opry, in the 1950’s she took time out to study acting in New York, and appeared in TV series ’Gunsmoke’.

She went on tour with Johnny Cash in 1961 with the Carters, and she co-wrote his 1963 Number One hit ’Ring Of Fire’. Four years later, their first duet ’Jackson’ reached Number Two in the country chart, and earned the couple a Grammy. They wed in 1968, and through the late 60’s and early 70’s enjoyed considerable commercial success.

June penned two autobiographies, published in 1979 and 1987, and in 1999 she released her first solo record for 24 years, ’Press On’, which won her a Grammy for best traditional folk album.

She is survived by her husband, Johnny, daughters Carlene Carter and Rosie, son John Carter Cash, and step-daughters Rosanne, Tara, Kathy and Cindy.