Barbara Orbison, the widow of Rock and Roll pioneer Roy Orbison, has lost her battle to pancreatic cancer. Family spokeswoman Sarah McMullen said that the 60-year-old died at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center on Tuesday, December 6, which happened to be the 23rd anniversary of the rocker's death.
Barbara's passing came just weeks after she was admitted into the hospital in mid-November. At time of death, she reportedly was surrounded by her sons. She will be buried next to Roy at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetary in Los Angeles in a private service and a celebration of life reception will take place at BMI offices in Nashville with date to be announced.
The head of the Nashville, Tennessee-based music publishing company, Still Working Music, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer on April 20. She is survived by sons, 46-year-old Wesley Orbison, 41-year-old Roy Kelton Orbison, Jr. and 36-year-old Alexander Orbison. Her family asks that donations can be made to the Roy Orbison Foundation in Los Angeles.
Upon hearing news of Barbara's passing, Patrick Swayze's widow, Lisa Niemi, said, "Patrick and I always had a warm connection with them both. Now we have lost this wonderful lady." Sharon Osbourne, meanwhile, expressed condolences on Twitter. "Such a sad day to hear about the passing of Barbara Orbison," she wrote. "She was a lovely gracious woman & an amazing mother. She will be greatly missed."
Barbara was 17 when she met then-32-year-old Roy at a nightclub in Leeds, England in 1968. They were married a year later in Henderson, Tennessee. In a tribute to her, Roy once wrote, "I've spent my lifetime trying to figure love out. Love ranges from just fascination to something almost spiritual. In the case with my wife, Barbara, it just keeps growing all the time."
She was her husband's manager until his death at 52. After her husband passing due to heart attack on December 6, 1988, she worked relentlessly in keeping his legacy alive which led to his induction into Nashville's Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1987 and a 1998 Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award. In January 2010, she accepted a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on her husband's behalf.