On Dec. 12, 2020, the music community mourned the loss of pioneering Black country singer Charley Pride when news of his death reverberated on social media. The singer, who was 86 at the time of his death, was known for hits like "Kiss an Angel Good Mornin'" and "Is Anybody Goin' to San Antone."
During his lifetime, Charley had 52 Top 10 country hits — including 29 at No. 1. He was also the first Black performer to appear on the Grand Ole Opry stage since Deford Bailey debuted in the 1920s. In 2000, Charley was inducted to the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Following news of Charley's death, one question still on people's minds was: What happened to him? Let's take a closer look at what, exactly, happened to the country music star.
What happened to Charley Pride?
Charley died on Dec. 12 in Dallas, Texas, from complications related to being infected with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
According to a statement on Charley's Facebook account, which confirmed the singer's death, "he was admitted to the hospital in late November with Covid-19 type symptoms and despite the incredible efforts, skill and care of his medical team over the past several weeks, he was unable to overcome the virus."
The CMAs issued a statement following Charley Pride's death.
Charley had attended the 2020 CMA Awards, which were held at the Music City Center in Nashville on Nov. 11. There, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award and sang "Kiss an Angel Good Morning" with Jimmie Allen.
At the time, plenty of viewers were quick to point out their concern about the lack of social distancing and masks at the CMAs. And following the news of Charley's death from complications of COVID-19 not long after his appearance at the awards show, the CMAs were again criticized.
I don’t want to jump to conclusions because no family statement has been made, but if this was a result of the CMAs being indoors, we should all be outraged. Rest in power, Charley. https://t.co/rSIbsLNwYj— MAREN MORRIS (@MarenMorris) December 12, 2020
"Everyone affiliated with the CMA Awards followed strict testing protocols outlined by the city health department and unions. Charley was tested prior to traveling to Nashville. He was tested upon landing in Nashville, and again on show day, with all tests coming back negative," a statement reads on CMA's website.
The statement continued, "After returning to Texas following the CMA Awards, Charley again tested negative multiple times. All of us in the Country Music community are heartbroken by Charley’s passing. Out of respect for his family during their grieving period, we will not be commenting on this further."
Country stars took to social media to pay tribute to Charley Pride.
Dolly Parton 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."
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
Plenty of other country music singers took to Twitter to share about their personal experience with Charley and his legacy following his death.
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— Luke Combs 🎤 (@lukecombs) December 12, 2020
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