Jamie O'Hara, a Nashville songwriter and a hitmaker himself with the O'Kanes, died Thursday (Jan. 7). The 70 year old passed away just four days after his wife, Lola White, reported that he'd been diagnosed with "an aggressive cancer."
"It is with a broken heart that I must tell you that my husband, friend and love of my life took his last breath this morning at 11:11 at Alive Hospice as my son Brian sang him a plethora of Jesse Winchester songs ... and Jamie's own songs ... and those of other friends," White shared on social media. "Jamie suffered tremendously in recent months. He's no longer suffering, and for that we can all be grateful. He will live in our hearts and in his songs."
Born Aug. 8, 1950 in Toledo, Ohio, O'Hara shifted his focus from high school football to songwriting after a career-ending injury. He moved to Nashville in 1975, where he wrote hit songs for Ronnie McDowell ("Older Women" and "Wandering Eyes") and The Judds (Grammy winner (Best Country Song) "Grandpa (Tell Me 'Bout the Good Old Days"). Other artists with O'Hara writes or co-writes in their catalog include Trisha Yearwood, Tim McGraw, George Jones and Gary Allan.
The O'Kanes, a duo with O'Hara's fellow singer-songwriter Kieran Kane, debuted for Columbia Records with six straight Top 10 singles between 1986 and 1988, highlighted by No. 1 hit "Can't Stop My Heart From Loving You."
RCA Records issued O'Hara's debut solo album, Rise Above It, in 1994. Beautiful Obsession (2001) and Dream Hymns (2012) followed and failed to impact country radio.
Country music songwriter Jamie O'Hara's not to be confused with soccer player Jamie O'Hara, a midfielder for the Billericay Town Football Club.