Little Jimmy Dickens was born James Cecil Dickens in 1920, in the tiny town of Bolt, W. Va. Dickens may have been small in stature -- he was only 4 feet, 11 inches -- but his presence was larger than life.

Originally performing for local radio stations under the stage name Jimmy the Kid, Dickens switched his moniker to Little Jimmy Dickens around the time he got his first record deal, with Columbia Records, in 1948. He quickly became an international sensation and was the first country artist to travel around the world.

But while Dickens was a global star, his favorite place to perform was at the Grand Ole Opry; the singer-songwriter became a member in 1948 and remained a frequent performer until he was hospitalized on Christmas Day (Dec. 25) in 2014. As funny as he was talented, Dickens also participated in comedic sketches, often with his close friend Brad Paisley, and was unafraid to make the audience laugh at his own expense.

Legendary career aside, Dickens' other passion was his family. Married since 1971 to his wife Mona, he was also a proud father to daughters Pamela and Lisa.

The pictures in the gallery below, which cover various stages of Dickens' life and career, only portray a small part of the lasting legacy he left behind. Dickens died on Jan. 2, 2015, of cardiac arrest. He was the oldest living member of the Grand Ole Opry.

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