Kentucky,Sept9:Within a span of minutes, the country music world learned it had lost two of its own: Troy Gentry, one-half of Kentucky duo Montgomery Gentry, died in a helicopter crash at age 50, while Hall of Famer Don Williams passed away at 78.
Country Music Hall of Famer Don Williams died Friday after a short illness. He was 78 years old.
Standing over 6 feet tall, with a smooth baritone and soft-spoken nature, Williams was known as the “Gentle Giant” of country music. He was a staple of country radio in the 1970s and ’80s, releasing 16 No. 1 songs between 1974 and 1985.
Over the course of his solo career, he recorded numerous songs now regarded as classics, including “Good Ole Boys Like Me,” “Tulsa Time,” “I Believe in You,” “Lord, I Hope This Day is Good” and “It Must Be Love.”
Don Williams was born May 27, 1939, in Floydada, Texas, and was playing guitar by the age of 12. In the 1960s, he was a member of the folk-pop group Pozo-Seco Singers before striking out on a solo career in the early 1970s.
I’m speechless. Pray with me for the family of Don Williams & especially the family of Troy Gentry. It’s a heavy day for country music.??✝️
— Josh Turner (@joshturnermusic) September 8, 2017
The industry mourned both on Twitter.
“It’s a heavy day for country music,” said Josh Turner, summing up what his community was feeling.
Jason Aldean recalled how Gentry, whom he dubbed “T-Roy,” and his Montgomery Gentry bandmate Eddie Montgomery were “always extremely cool and supportive” of him when he was a new artist. “I will always have nothing but respect for those guys,” he wrote.