Music legend and country pioneer Charley Pride has passed away at the age of 86.
The singer’s passing was confirmed by Jeremy Westby of 2911 Media who said that the 86-year-old Hall of Famer died on Saturday.
According to the media company’s president, the country pioneer, who is the first African-American to take place in the Country Music Hall of Fame, died of Covid-19 complications.
Charley kicked off his career in the 1960s and went on to release a series of albums and sell over 25 million records.
Throughout his career, the ‘Kiss an Angel Good Morning’ hitmaker won three Grammy Awards and the 1972 title of the Top Male Vocalist and Entertainer of the Year by Country Music Association. Pride also released over thirty No. 1 hits and immortalized his name by making it into the Country Music Hall of Fame back in 2000.
Following the music legend’s death, countless musicians and fans of the singer paid their respects to Charley.
Among those paying tribute was also Dolly Parton who expressed feeling upset by the loss of one of her “dearest and oldest friends.”
“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.
Previously, in 1992, the iconic singer opened up about the role his race played in his career as he suggested that the country is too obsessed with colors and pigments.
“They used to ask me how it feels to be the ‘first colored country singer’. Then it was ‘first Negro country singer’; then ‘first black country singer’. Now I’m the ‘first African-American country singer’. That’s about the only thing that’s changed,” Pride told The Dallas Morning News.
“This country is so race-conscious, so ate-up with colors and pigments. I call it ‘skin hang-ups’ — it’s a disease.”
Charley, rest in peace.