Country musicians and celebrities are mourning the loss of country legend Charley Pride, who died on Saturday due to complications from COVID-19.
Pride — a pioneer for Black musicians in country music — died in Dallas, Texas, at the age of 86, a statement on his website confirmed.
Dolly Parton, Maren Morris, Jason Aldean, and more remembered Pride's legendary impact on country music by sharing tributes to the musician on social media.
"I’m so heartbroken that one of my dearest and oldest friends, Charley Pride, has passed away. It’s even worse to know that he passed away from COVID-19. What a horrible, horrible virus. Charley, we will always love you," Parton, 74, wrote on Twitter.
"Rest In Peace. My love and thoughts go out to his family and all of his fans," she added.
In a tribute to Pride, Morris, 30, brought up the Country Music Awards, which was held in person last month and was where Pride made his final public appearance. Pride was honored with the lifetime achievement award from Jimmie Allen at this year's show.
"I don’t want to jump to conclusions because no family statement has been made, but if this was a result of the CMAs being indoors, we should all be outraged," she wrote. "Rest in power, Charley."
Aldean, 43, honored Pride as "one of our legends in Country Music."
"I can’t imagine what this man went through as a Black Country Music artist trying to break into this business, but what a career he had," he wrote on Instagram. " I grew up such a fan of his music and his voice and he will be greatly missed by all of us. RIP Mr. Charley Pride"
Reba McEntire shared similar sentiments about Pride's contribution to the music industry.
"Charley Pride will always be a legend in Country music. He will truly be missed but will always be remembered for his great music, wonderful personality and his big heart," she wrote on Instagram. "My thoughts are with his wife Rozene and their family. RIP, Charley."
Meanwhile, Luke Combs recalled meeting Pride during one of his performances at the Grand Old Opry.
"I was in awe of his presence and his talent," he wrote. "So saddened by the news of his passing. He was a true legend and trailblazer. His impact on our genre and generations of artists will never be forgotten. Rip"
"Saddened to hear the news that legendary Charley Pride has died. My heart breaks as 2020 gets worse," country singer Chris Janson shared on Twitter.
Brad Paisley posted a photo of him performing with Pride as he remembered him as the "most generous, kind, trailblazing man."
"I met Charley Pride when I was 15. He gave his home phone number to my dad, and said “I’d love to help your son.” And help he did. I am so blessed to have had so many memories with him," Paisley wrote. "I’m devastated. You changed country music for the better, Charley. And you changed this kid’s life. We love you."
Billy Ray Cyrus shared an image of the last time he spoke to Pride, whom he called his "good friend and legend."
"We met in ‘92 playing shows together in Australia. His beloved sweetheart Rosie by his side. A gentleman… legend and true trail blazer. With much respect #RIP," Cyrus wrote.
With top hits including “Kiss an Angel Good Morning” and “Is Anybody Goin' to San Antone,” Pride became the first Black member of the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2000.
He was born in Mississippi in 1934 as the son of a sharecropper. After a brief time serving in the Army and some unsuccessful attempts at becoming a professional baseball player, Pride headed to Nashville in the 1960s.
In addition to earning three Grammy Awards during his career, he took home the entertainer of the year award at the 1971 Country Music Awards and won male vocalist of the year both that year and in 1972. In 1975, he became the first Black man to host the Country Music Association Awards.
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