Craig J. Martin, Co-Writer of Tim McGraw's 'Don't Take the Girl,' Has Died

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Craig J. Martin, the 52-year-old co-writer of Tim McGraw's "Don't Take the Girl," died on July 3. Taste of Country reports that Martin's death was due to a "sudden cardiac event."

Martin, a Marshall Country, West Virginia native, worked as a corrections officer after high school before leaving home to chase his singer-songwriter dreams in Music City.

"When I first moved to Nashville, I didn't know a soul," Martin told Nashville Music Guide in 2011. "I pulled into town with only five hundred dollars, but I was ready to make things happen."

A prolific songwriter, his work beyond co-writing one of McGraw's greatest hits included "What Will You Do With M-E" and "My Dyin' Day" for Western Flyers plus cuts by country music artists Clinton Gregory, Geoff Buell and others.

Martin's son Keith created a successful Gofundme campaign for his dad's funeral expenses.

"He was a man who could walk into a room and make anyone laugh without any effort at all, because he had a clever and witty personality about him that attracted people," Keith wrote in the campaign's description. "He loved spending time with his kids and would do anything in the world to get all 5 of us together at one time. You could see the light in his eyes when all our family were together somewhere on a back porch with some guitars."

Keith also noted that his dad often wrote about "love and pain, two of the strongest human emotions and two that we are all experiencing simultaneously in a very crushing way right now knowing that Craig is no longer with us."

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Martin's co-writer on "Don't Take the Girl," Larry Johnson, passed away in June.

Funeral services for Martin will be held July 11 at Altmeyer Funeral Home in Wheeling, West Virginia. Martin is survived by his wife Lori Gallagher plus five children and six grandchildren.

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Craig J. Martin, Co-Writer of Tim McGraw's 'Don't Take the Girl,' Has Died