Published: Apr 12, 2010 9:07 AM EDT

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Country music pioneer Hank Williams has been given a special citation by the Pulitzer Prize board.

The board said Monday that it awarded the late singer for his lifetime achievement after a confidential survey of experts in popular music.

The citation notes Williams' "craftsmanship as a songwriter" and his "pivotal role in transforming country music into a major musical and cultural force."

Williams died Jan. 1, 1953, at the age of 29, cutting short a career that forever changed country music. Hits such as "Your Cheatin' Heart," ''Cold Cold Heart" and "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" have been covered by hundreds of musicians, and more than 50 years after his death, he remains a central figure in country music.