Mary Martin, a longtime artist manager and A&R executive in the country, folk and rock & roll formats, has died, according to a statement posted to social media by the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. She was 85 years old.

Martin played a pivotal role in the careers of several country greats, including Keith Urban. Back in the early 1990s, she encouraged Urban to move from his home country of Australia to Nashville and expand his then-fledgling career into American mainstream country.

She also helped launch the careers of Emmylou Harris, Clint Black, Lorrie Morgan, Aaron Tippin and Paul Overstreet. As an artist manager, she worked with Vince Gill and Rodney Crowell.

"Mary's unerring feel for songs and performers was legendary, and she was a fierce ally for the artists she represented," Country Music Hall of Fame CEO Kyle Young said in a remembrance of Martin included in the Hall of Fame's social media post.

Martin was born in Toronto, Canada in 1939. She began her career in New York, N.Y., where she started as an assistant to Albert Grossman, an artist manager who worked with Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin and more. One of the first artists Martin worked with on her own was Leonard Cohen.

She moved to Nashville in 1985, where she worked in executive positions at multiple record labels, as well as in A&R and fundraising departments, over the next couple of decades. Additionally, in 2002, Martin won a Grammy Award for her work as a producer on a Hank Williams album called Timeless.

Martin died on Thursday night (July 4.) According to Music Row, she was receiving palliative care at Nashville's Alive Hospice at the time of her death. No official cause of death or memorial service details were immediately available.

Carena Liptak is an Associate Editor and staff writer at Taste of Country. She specializes in breaking country music news, interviews and lists. In particular, she’s got a soft spot for sad songs — check out her roundup of the 50 Saddest Country Songs of All Time!

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