Henry Cannon, a pilot who would fly his late wife, the humorist Minnie Pearl, to her performances throughout the country, died early Friday in his sleep. He was 80 and had suffered from cancer.

Cannon, who served as his wife's manager, often accompanied her to her Grand Ole Opry shows, remaining backstage to chat with other entertainers.His wife's real name was Sarah Colley Cannon. They were married in 1947.

She died March 4, 1996, of complications from a stroke at age 83. She was known for her homespun humor, shrill "Howdyyyy" and straw hat with its dangling $1.98 price tag.