The country music world is mourning the loss of legendary singer Earl Thomas Conley, who died on April 10th at 77 years old.
The Voice judge and country music star Blake Shelton was one of the first to spread the news. In a tweet, Shelton told the world of his friend’s passing. Shelton called Earl Thomas Conley his favorite singer and hero.
Expressing prayers for the fallen sensation, Shelton said that he would be missed before telling him to rest.
Conley’s brother Fred spoke to reporters from the Tennessean on his family’s loss. Fred Conley told of how his brother was in hospice care for several months dealing with a disease similar to dementia, expressing that he was heartbroken to see his brother succumb to the illness.
Born in Portsmouth, Ohio in 1941, Conley wowed fans with numerous hit songs during his decades long career, including “Somewhere Between Right and Wrong,” “Right from the Start,” and “Holding Her and Loving You.” In total, Conley released 10 albums and had over 30 of his singles grace Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart.
Conley first collaborated with Blake Shelton in 2001, helping the then up-and-coming singer write the hit “All Over Me.”
Shelton spoke to People last year of his friendship with Conley, calling him his personal hero. Elaborating, Shelton said that his definition of hero has changed over the years. Now, Shelton finds that a hero is a true friend, as life does not give people very many friends that stick with you through thick and thin.
Continuing, Shelton says that Conley inspired him to be a country music singer. Shelton describes how he would rehearse Conley’s songs in his Nashville apartment as he dreamt of superstardom, thinking that if he could be like Conley, he could be a professional singer.
Other country music stars have also taken to social media to pay their respects to Conley. That includes John Rich of Big & Rich, who tweeted that Conley was a master performer, while telling his followers how much he learned about songwriting from Conley.