Nearly a month to the day after performing at the CMA Awards, where he received a lifetime achievement award, country legend Charley Pride died Saturday of complications related to Covid-19, his representatives said in a statement. He was 86.
Pride, celebrated as country music’s first Black superstar, passed in Dallas, Texas, they said.
At Nov. 11’s CMA Awards Pride took home the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award and sang “Kiss An Angel Good Mornin'” with Jimmie Allen. It was his final performance.
“I’m so heartbroken that one of my dearest and oldest friends, Charley Pride, has passed away,” Dolly Parton tweeted Saturday afternoon. “It’s even worse to know that he passed away from COVID-19. What a horrible, horrible virus. Charley, we will always love you.”
Pride was born a sharecropper’s son in Sledge, Mississippi, joined the Army, worked at a smelting plant in Missouri, tried to break into big-league baseball, and moved to Nashville in 1963 to make music.
In 1967 his recording of “Just Between You and Me” broke in the country Top 10 chart.
From then until 1987 he performed on 52 Top 10 hits. He was RCA’s top-selling country artist, his representatives said.
In his memoir, Pride wrote;
““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.”
His wife, Rozene, survives. They had three children, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
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)
— Dolly Parton (@DollyParton) December 12, 2020