Garth Brooks’ sister, Betsy Smittle, died from cancer on Saturday, November 2 according to Brooks’ daughter, August. The service times have yet to be determined.
The 60-year-old Smittle was most known for playing bass in Brooks’ band for several years. Smittle also contributed to vocals while touring with Brooks’ band, Stillwater, for several years. She can be heard on his 1991 debut album Ropin’ the Wind and later albums including The Chase, In Pieces, Fresh Horses and the Double Live concert album. She also appeared in TV specials such asThis Is Garth Brooks and This Is Garth Brooks, Too. She did release one solo album, Rough Around the Edges in 1994.
“She has a wonderful knack for rhythm, but probably her greatest talent is relating to the audience,” Brooks told Oklahoma Today in 1993, adding that he called Smittle “Hollywood.” She was one of the singer’s four older half-siblings. He also has an older brother named Kelly. Brooks’ sister was a gay rights activist who performed and participated in numerous gay rights events throughout Oklahoma.
My beautiful Aunt lost her battle with Cancer early Saturday morning. So happy she got to meet my… http://t.co/TsIWVYL2dP
— MamaBear♥ (@August_brooks) November 5, 2013
There had been some speculation recently that Brooks would be making a comeback in 2014. With the death of his sister, that is likely to be put on hold.