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US Singer Phil Everly of Rock Duo The Everly Brothers Dead at 74

Phil Everly -- half of the U.S. rock duo The Everly Brothers, whose smooth harmonies inspired countless singers -- has died.

The 74-year-old Everly died Friday at a hospital in southern California. The Los Angeles Times cites Everly's wife as saying the cause was chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, stemming from a lifetime of smoking.

Phil Everly and his older brother Don pioneered the rock-country sound that would influence not only The Beatles, but also The Beach Boys, The Byrds and Simon & Garfunkel. The Everly Brothers' hits during the height of their popularity in the late 1950's and early 60's included "Bye Bye Love," "Wake Up Little Susie" and "Cathy's Clown."

The two siblings were among the first 10 performers to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame when it was launched in 1986.

Their personal relationship, however, was not nearly as harmonious as their singing. In 1973, they famously parted ways mid-performance, with Phil smashing his guitar and walking offstage.

They reunited a decade later in the 1980s, recording more albums, but continued to go through periods of estrangement.

In addition to his brother and wife, Phil Everly is survived by his mother, two sons and two granddaughters.

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