Emery "died peacefully" Saturday morning, surrounded by his family at Tristar Centennial Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessean reported, citing a family statement.
Emery was born on March 10, 1933 in McEwen, Tennessee. He began his career in the early 1950s on small radio stations in the state before continuing to become one of the most famous television and radio personalities in country music, including advertising at the Grand Ole Opry from 1961 to 1964 , according to the Country Music Hall of Fame.
"Ralph Emery's influence on expanding country music audiences is unmanageable. On radio and television, he gave fans the opportunity to get to know the people behind the songs. Ralph was more of a great conversation partner than a calculated interviewer ... Above all, he believed in music and in the people who make it, "said Kyle Young, executive director of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in a tribute to his website.
Emery was inducted into the Country Music Disc Jockey Hall of Fame in 1989 and the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2007.
"Ralph Emery was often better known than the stars he introduced to a larger and larger audience over the years as Country Music's chief ambassador," said Sarah Trahern, Country Music Associations CEO in a statement. "Our format had no better voice over the years than Ralph, who treated Country Music and its stars - many of whom continued to be his friend - with the kind of dignity and respect they deserved for decades. As a Country Music Hall of Famer, Will he will be remembered among so many of the artists he supported throughout his career. "
Loretta Lynn, country music legend and "dear friend" of Emery, tweeted
"It breaks my heart to hear about Ralph Emery's passing. Ralph and I go back a long way. He was an original from Nashville, and you can not underestimate the role he played in the growth and success of country music. He made you feel comfortable and interviewed everyone like an old friend. "
IN a tweet
, the city of Nashville also mourned Emery.
"Your legacy will live on forever, Ralph. Thank you for all you have done."