Charley Pride made his final performance at the CMA Awards, which drew controversy for being held indoors despite the COVID-19 pandemic

By Karen Mizoguchi
December 12, 2020 10:15 PM
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Credit: Ford Fairchild/Country Music Association Inc/Shutterstock

Charley Pride was "unable to overcome" the coronavirus, according to a new statement shared on his official Facebook page. The singer died on Saturday in Dallas, Texas, at the age of 86.

Hours after news of his death was announced, a statement on Pride's Facebook page detailed his coronavirus diagnosis. "It is with great sadness that we confirm that Charley Pride passed away this morning, Saturday, December 12, 2020, in Dallas, Texas of complications from Covid-19 at age 86," the statement read.

"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 statement continued. "Charley felt blessed to have such wonderful fans all over the world. And he would want his fans to take this virus very seriously."

On Nov. 11, Pride made his final performance and received the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award at the Country Music Association Awards, which drew controversy for being held indoors despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Many, including country stars Maren Morris, Mickey Guyton and Brandi Carlile, expressed concern about Pride possibly contracting the coronavirus at the CMAs.

Credit: Jason Kempin/Getty Images

However, the CMAs and representatives for Charley Pride issued a joint statement on Saturday.

"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. After returning to Texas following the CMA Awards, Charley again tested negative multiple times," the statement read. "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."

Credit: Terry Wyatt/Getty

Pride, who was the first Black artist to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and only the second Black artist to perform at the Grand Ole Opry, was best known for his songs “Kiss an Angel Good Morning” and “Is Anybody Goin' to San Antone.”

Among his many accolades, the country trailblazer won a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017 and became a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 1993

Pride is survived by his children — Carlton Kraig Pride, Charles Dion Pride, and Angela Rozene Pride — and his grandchildren and great-grandchildren — Carlton Kraig Pride, Jr., Malachi Pride, Syler Pride, Ebby Pride, Arrentino Vassar, Skyler Pride and Carlton Kraig Pride, III — as well as his siblings Harmon Pride, Stephen Pride, Catherine Sanders and Maxine Pride.

"In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to The Pride Scholarship at Jesuit College Preparatory School, St. Philips School and Community Center or The Food Bank," the statement on Pride's Facebook page said.

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