John Denver was a pop/country music star.  With hits like "Leaving On A Jet Plane", "Take Me Home Country Roads", and "Thank God I'm A Country Boy".  He was a huge environmentalist and loved to sing about nature.  It was on this day in 1997 that he died in a plane crash near Monterey, California.

He was born Henry John Deutschendorf and had a bunch of hits under the name John Denver.  He was an avid pilot and according to CNN, he was practicing touch and go landings on the coast of California when the engine in his two passenger plane failed.  It apparently ran out of fuel and crashed into the ocean.

There is controversy however about whether or not the accident was due to pilot error or (because the plane was assembled by hand) a faulty switch that was in a difficult spot for the pilot to reach.  The switch was behind the pilot's head instead of in front of him on the dashboard.

 

For more country music history that occurred on October 12th, check out  CMT.com.