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The country music industry was rocked by the news of legendary singer Charley Pride’s death due to complications from the coronavirus Sunday.
Pride had the distinction of being country music's first Black superstar with hits that included “Kiss an Angel Good Mornin’” and “Mountain of Love,” and 29 of his 52 top-10 hits rose to No. 1. He won multiple Country Music Awards. And in 1993, he was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry, although he maintained that he’d had an open invitation there since his first performance in 1967.
With such a long, historic and successful career in the genre, it didn’t take long before celebrities far and wide took to social media to share their respective tributes for Pride.
Charley Pride’s friends in country music spoke out following his death.
(Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for CMA)
“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,” she wrote.
"Charley Pride opened the door for so many including me. He took down walls and barriers meant to divide. He became a bridge of music for music lovers who found they had way more in common than they had different," Billy Ray Cyrus wrote. "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."
"We’re saddened to hear about the loss of the legendary Charley Pride. He was a true gentleman with a kind heart. Our thoughts are with his loved ones. His music has made a huge impact on the three of us and on the world. #CharleyPride," the Twitter account for the band The Chicks wrote.
"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," Reba McEntire wrote.
"Charley Pride was a dear friend & truly one of the sweetest men in the music business. I was privileged to be his opening act when I first came to town," Lee Greenwood wrote. "He treated everyone with respect & kindness. I’m in shock & so sad because I lost a good friend, the music business lost an incredible artist and the world lost an amazing citizen. #CharleyPride #kissanangelgoodmorning"
"My heart is so heavy. Charley Pride was an icon a legend and any other word u 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!" added Darius Rucker.
"I’m very VERY sorry to hear the terrible news about Charley Pride.. Kiss An Angel Good Morning is one of my first memories of country music," Blake Shelton noted.
"Heartbreaking. I truly loved my friend, Charley Pride. The world will never be the same. He was one of the very best things that ever happened to country music. I'm all tears tonight. #charleypride #KissAnAngelGoodMorning #ihatecovid19," wrote Loretta Lynn.
"RIP #CharleyPride. Thanks for breaking down barriers and your amazing talent. Your story is one for the books. Godspeed!!!" Viola Davis added.
CHARLEY PRIDE RECEIVES WILLIE NELSON LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD AT 2020 CMA AWARDS
"I had the pleasure of meeting Charley Pride when I was playing the @opry. I was in awe of his presence and his talent. 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," Luke Combs said.
"Charley Pride, So blessed to first get to know you as a guest on the #DonnyAndMarie show in the 70s and through the years. May your songs live on forever and country music continue to honor you dear friend! #RIP," Marie Osmond wrote.
"Charley Pride died of COVID today. I knew he was an incredible country singer and the first Black inductee to the Country Music Hall of Fame. But it's only today that I realized that 20 years before that, he played baseball in the Negro Leagues. What a trailblazing, historic life," comedian Adam Conover wrote.
"It’s such a sad day saying so long to #CharleyPride. I’m just so thankful I got to sing a song with him. That’s where this pic was taken. I also narrated his I’ll Be Me documentary. My heart, my love, my soul… everything goes out to Rozene and the entire Pride family," Tanya Tucker said.
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"It was an honor to to call you a friend #charleypride Thank you always for being a hero, a pioneer, and one of the greats #RestInPeace," Randy Jackson added.
"Saddened to hear the news that legendary Charley Pride has died. My heart breaks as 2020 gets worse. #RIP @opry family," Chris Janson said.
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"Charley was a part of my career from the earliest days when I was hanging out with Byron Gallimore at Pride Music Group. Charley was just the nicest man, generous of heart and spirit. So kind. Musically he will always be a legend and one of the country greats," Tim McGraw wrote.
"So sad to hear about the loss of my old friend Charley Pride today. He was an amazing entertainer and could sing a country song like no other. I had the privilege of getting to work with him early in my career and he couldn’t have been nicer and more welcoming to a new guy," wrote George Strait.
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