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Dolly Parton remembers Charley Pride in heartbreaking post: 'We will always love you'

Considered country music's first Black superstar, Pride died on Saturday due to complications related to COVID-19.
/ Source: TODAY

Dolly Parton took to social media on Saturday, Dec. 12 to honor her friend, Charley Pride, who died earlier that day due to complications related to COVID-19.

"I’m so heartbroken that one of my dearest and oldest friends, Charley Pride, has passed away," the 74-year-old country superstar shared on Twitter. "It’s even worse to know that he passed away from COVID-19. What a horrible, horrible virus. Charley, we will always love you."

In a subsequent tweet, she added, "Rest In Peace. My love and thoughts go out to his family and all of his fans. - Dolly."

Pride is survived by his wife, Rozene, as well as their three children, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Dolly Parton and Charley Pride.Getty Images

According to a statement announcing his death, Pride was born a sharecropper's son in Sledge, Mississippi on March 18, 1934. He would later become considered country music's first Black superstar and the first Black member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.

"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.

Charley Pride on June 6, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee. Erika Goldring / FilmMagic

Pride delivered 36 number one hits and sold more than 25 million albums, according to the Grand Ole Opry. His representative shared that at the peak of his career from 1967 to 1987, he scored 52 top 10 country hits, won Grammy awards and became RCA Records top-selling country artist. Some of his hits include “Kiss an Angel Good Morning,” “Mountain of Love” and “Is Anybody Going to San Antone?”

Pride's final performance was on Nov. 11, 2020 during the CMA Awards, when he sang "Kiss An Angel Good Mornin" with Jimmie Allen. He also received the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award that same night, when at the end of his heartfelt speech he was visibly moved.

"And all my fans, I want to say thank you and well, I'm through talking I guess," he said, fighting back tears. "I'm just going to thank everybody again."

Pride was 86-years-old.