By Dan Whitcomb

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Glenn Yarbrough, the American folk singer best known for his work with the popular trio the Limeliters in the early 1960s and his solo hit single "Baby the Rain Must Fall", has died at the age of 86.

Yarbrough, lead singer and guitarist of the original group that also featured Alex Hassilev and Lou Gottlieb, passed away on Thursday night surrounded by friends and family members, his daughter Holly Yarbrough Burnett said in a post on Facebook.

"Dad was listening to Baby the Rain Must Fall when his breaths spaced out and he drifted up and out during the last chorus - catching a ride on the Perseids to his next Great Adventure. It was a very good death," Yarbrough Burnett wrote.

Yarbrough Burnett did not specify a cause of death in the post but in May wrote that her father had been suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and dementia and been in hospice care in recent months. He died at her home in Nashville.

Yarbrough was born on January 20, 1930 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but largely grew up in New York City, where he sang in the church choir.He studied philosophy at St. John's College in Annapolis, Maryland, but decided to embark on a career as a folk singer after attending a Woody Guthrie concert at the school.

After serving in the Korean War, Yarbrough moved to Aspen, Colorado, where he had purchased a ski lodge with Hassilev called The Limelite that would lend its name to the trio.

Yarbrough left the group in 1963 and released a series of solo songs and albums including Baby the Rain Must Fall, title song of a 1965 film starring Steve McQueen and Lee Remick.

Yarbrough, who had a love for the sea, spent much of the next several decades sailing but reunited periodically with the band for reunion tours.

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; editing by Mark Heinrich)