Trailblazing African-American country musician Charley Pride has passed away in Dallas, Texas at age 86.
Pride’s publicist confirmed that Pride’s death on December 12 had been attributed to coronavirus complications.
Born in 1934, Pride was the first African-American inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
He enjoyed considerable chart success during his heyday, scoring 52 Top Ten hits on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart. ‘Kiss An Angel Good Mornin’’, ‘Why Baby Why’ and ‘Night Games’ were among Pride’s 29 songs to reach Number One on that chart.
Pride also earned four Grammy Awards throughout his career, including a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017.
In the United Kingdom and Ireland, Pride was notable for performing in Belfast at the height of The Troubles, when many international artists chose to bypass the city on their tours.
In his home country, he was a distinguished advocate for African-American rights.
“We’re not color blind yet, but we’ve advanced a few paces along the path and I like to think I’ve contributed something to that process,” Pride wrote in his memoir, 2017’s Pride: The Charley Pride Story.
Pride was also a talented baseball player in his youth, earning professional contracts during the 1950s.
Billy Ray Cyrus, Reba McEntire and Richard Marx are among the musicians to have paid tribute to Pride following his passing.
The last time I spoke to my good friend and legend Charley Pride. We met in ‘92 playing shows together in Australia. His beloved sweetheart Rosie by his side. A gentleman… legend and true trail blazer. With much respect #RIP pic.twitter.com/dewMqcC6Rk
— Billy Ray Cyrus (@billyraycyrus) December 12, 2020
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
Oh, man. #CharleyPride Thank you did all the great music. RIP. #fuckcovid
— Richard Marx (@richardmarx) December 12, 2020
In lieu of flowers, Pride’s family request that those wishing to honour the singer’s memory donate to The Pride Scholarship at Jesuit College Preparatory School, St. Philips School and Community Centre.
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