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Country music pioneer Charley Pride dies at 86 from complications of COVID-19

Charley Pride (Photo credit: Bang Media)

The country music world is in mourning following the death of Charley Pride.

The 86-year-old country music legend, who was best known for his 1971 hit “Kiss an Angel Good Mornin,’ ” passed away in his home city of Dallas from complications of COVID-19 on Saturday , Dec 12, 2020, his publicist Jeremy Westby has confirmed.

Dolly Parton, who sang the duet “God’s Coloring Book” with Pride, has led tributes to the pioneering Black singer.

The ‘9 to 5’ hitmaker tweeted: “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. (1/2) … Rest In Peace. My love and thoughts go out to his family and all of his fans. – Dolly (2/2) ”

Luke Combs recalled being “in awe” of Charley who he once met backstage at the Grand Ole Opry.

He wrote: “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.”

Martina McBride posted: “So saddened to hear about the passing of Charley Pride. Prayers for his wife Rozene and his family.”

The music icon was the first Black artist to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2000.

Born in Mississippi in 1934, Pride — who first picked up a guitar when he was 14 — was set on becoming a baseball player, before he moved to Nashville and realized his immense talent for singing.

Between 1956 and 1968 he also had a brief stint in the U.S. Army.

The beloved musician received a host of accolades during a dazzling career spanning almost seven decades, including Entertainer of the Year at the Country Music Association Awards in 1971, Top Male Vocalist in 1972, and just last month he was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Pride’s last live performance just so happened to be at the CMAs on Nov. 11, when he graced viewers with a performance of “Kiss An Angel Good Mornin’. ”

Continue to the next page to read more and watch Pride’s final performance with singer-songwriter Jimmie Allen at the 2020 CMAs.

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