US country music star Charley Pride passed away on Saturday due to COVID-19 complications. He was 86. Pride’s family confirmed his death and said he had passed away in Dallas, Texas.
Pride was the first African-American to enter the Country Music Hall of Fame and was known for 1970s hits including ‘Kiss an Angel Good Mornin’ and ‘All I Have to Offer You (Is Me).’ He was RCA Records second biggest-selling performer since Elvis Presley.
Pride was born in 1934 and was the son of a sharecropper on a cotton farm in Mississippi. He served in the army, played baseball and worked in a smelting plant before commencing his music career. He rose to fame in the 1960s and became one of country music’s biggest stars with Fifty-two of his songs reaching the country Top 10 charts.
In the wake of his passing away, tributes poured in from various music luminaries. Dolly Parton described Pride as “one of my dearest and oldest friends, whilst stating that she was “heartbroken” to hear the news. Singer Billy Ray Cyrus hailed Pride’s role as a “true trailblazer” while former US president George W. Bush also paid tribute. In his statement, he praised Pride as a “fine gentleman with a great voice.”
For the unversed, Pride was recently awarded the Country Music Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award in Nashville, Tennessee, on 11 November. His death from COVID-19 came a month after he accepted the award. The organizers, however, have defended their decision to go ahead with the event despite the pandemic while saying that Pride had tested negative prior to attending.
In the meantime, Pride’s family said in a statement on his social media page that he “felt blessed to have such wonderful fans all over the world. And he would want his fans to take this virus very seriously.”