FORT WORTH, Texas - William "Bill" Walker, a baritone whose career ranged from the State Fair of Texas to more 350 performances at the Metropolitan Opera in Manhattan, has died. He was 78.

The Tarrant County Medical Examiner's office said Walker died Saturday in Fort Worth.

The coroner did not provide a cause of death, but the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that Walker was diagnosed with cancer several years ago.

Darren K. Woods, the current general director of the Fort Worth Opera, says Walker "was a true southern gentleman with a bigger-than-life personality and a rich, booming voice."

Metropolitan Opera records indicate Walker performed 364 times, from March 1962 to June 1978. He appeared dozens of times on TV's "Tonight Show," starring Johnny Carson, and also sang on Broadway.

- AP

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