Charley Pride passed away on Saturday, December 12, due to complications after contracting COVID-19. The loss of one of country music’s most legendary pioneers has left the country music community reeling, with many artists speaking out about the passing of the 86-year-old icon.
“We lost a great one today,” Keith Urban posted on social media. “Charley was such a pioneer on so many levels, but for me he was among the first country music voices I heard on our family’s record player. I sang many of his songs in my cover band days, and so it was surreal to finally be on stage with him at our All For The Hall concert playing ‘Kiss An Angel Good Morning.’ He was also one of kindest people I’ve ever met. Peace and blessings to your beautiful soul Charley – and to all of your family today.”
We lost a great one today. pic.twitter.com/4oeebVsLZU
— Keith Urban (@KeithUrban) December 12, 2020
“I’m so heartbroken that one of my dearest and oldest friends, Charley Pride, has passed away,” wrote Dolly Parton.” It’s even worse to know that he passed away from COVID-19. What a horrible, horrible virus. Charley, we will always love you. Rest In Peace. My love and thoughts go out to his family and all of his fans.”
“What a sweet & legendary man,” Carrie Underwood posted. “Whenever he saw you he would offer a smile & tell you your birthday. I don’t know how he remembered, but he always did…I’m so glad I got a few chances to be in the presence of Charley. Rest In Peace & sing with the angels…”
“Your voice,” tweeted Maren Morris. “Your humility. The fact that the first time I ever visited the Opry, you were backstage holding court and I was trying not to eavesdrop.”
Your voice. Your humility. The fact that the first time I ever visited the Opry, you were backstage holding court and I was trying not to eavesdrop. 💔 pic.twitter.com/1CdgIYRTZz
— MAREN MORRIS (@MarenMorris) December 13, 2020
“He opened the door for so many, including me. He took down walls and barriers meant to divide,” Billy Ray Cyrus said in a statement. “He became a bridge of music for music lovers who found they had way more in common than they had different. And rules and stereotypes meant to separate were taken down and opened up to the free will of the artist and fan to become one in harmony and song.”
“This pandemic has taken another icon away from us,” Rascal Flatts’ Jay DeMarcus posted on social media. “To say Charlie Pride was a legend would be an understatement. He was a pioneer, broke boundaries & one of the first to be bold enough to step out & show the world that country music was bigger than just 1 color.”
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. My thoughts are with his wife Rozene and their family. RIP, Charley. pic.twitter.com/2IYFfx4kLo
— Reba (@reba) December 12, 2020
“Charley Pride will always be a legend in Country music,” posted Reba McEntire. “He will truly be missed but will always be remembered for his great music, wonderful personality and his big heart. My thoughts are with his wife Rozene and their family. RIP, Charley.”
“Charley was a dear friend, who without question, impacted my life,” Steve Wariner noted. “He gave this young kid a chance to tour the world with him even before I had a record out! It would have been impossible for him to be any more gracious. I will always be grateful to Charley for many reasons. He definitely was a pioneer, knocking down doors for so many to follow. We all owe him a debt of gratitude. My love and condolences go out to his sweet wife Rozene and the entire Pride family.”
“I’m deeply saddened by the news today of Charley Pride’s passing,” said Collin Raye. “What a sad year for our industry. We have already lost so many friends and legends and now Charley. What a kind, sweet, considerate man. He always, and I mean always, went out of his way to be friendly, supportive, complimentary, genuine and very human to all of us ‘younger’ artists. He was an absolute joy to be around. As an artist? Wow. Blazed a huge trail with that resonant, warm, unmistakable voice and a countless stream of huge country hits that spanned decades.
“A true legend in every sense of the word,” he continued. “A true man in every sense of the word. I always enjoyed talking baseball with him. Honored beyond words to have shared the stage with him on occasion. My love and sympathy go out to his dear family. My heart also goes out to my good friend Neal McCoy on this day for I know how much Neal loved Charley. God be with you, Charley. Safe now in eternity. May we never forget the great Charley Pride.”
“Charley Pride was a dear friend and truly one of the sweetest men in the music business,” Lee Greenwood said. “I was privileged to be his opening act when I first came to town. He treated everyone with respect and kindness. I’m in shock and so sad because I lost a good friend, the music business lost an incredible artist and the world lost an amazing citizen.”
“My heart is so heavy,” said Darius Rucker. “Charley Pride was an icon a legend and any other word [you] wanna use for his greatness. He destroyed barriers and did things that no one had ever done. But today I’m thinking of my friend. Heaven just got one of the finest people I know. I miss and love u CP!”
Charley received the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2020 CMA Awards in November, which was his last public appearance before his illness.
“To say Country Music has lost a trailblazer is an obvious understatement, but in fact one of the biggest losses is Charley’s definitive Country voice,” Sarah Trahern, Country Music Association CEO, said. “I remember working with Charley in 2009 on ‘Country Music: In Performance at the White House’ when President and Michelle Obama invited several Country artists to perform. He was a trailblazer in so many ways. It was a special night and Charley was telling amazing stories. Our deepest condolences go out to his wife Rozene and the rest of his family and friends at this sad time.”
According to a statement shared on Facebook by Charley’s family, he was admitted to the hospital in late November with symptoms related to COVID-19, which he was unable to overcome, despite “the incredible efforts, skill and care of his medical team over the past several weeks.”
Funeral arrangements have yet to be announced. Everything Nash extends our deepest condolences to Charley’s family.