Following the death of Charley Pride on Dec. 12 in Dallas, Texas, due to complications from Covid-19, the Country Music Association released a statement regarding its Covid-19 protocols at the CMA Awards on Nov. 11.
Charley was presented with the 2020 Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award in Nashville at the 54th CMA Awards on Nov. 11. Charley also performed alongside Jimmie Allen during the show.
The CMA’s official statement noted: “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. 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.”
A post on Charley’s official Facebook page on Dec. 12 stated, in part: “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. Charley felt blessed to have such wonderful fans all over the world. And he would want his fans to take this virus very seriously.”
Charley, a three-time Grammy winner, is considered country music’s first African-American superstar. He signed to RCA Victor in 1967 and earned a string of No. 1 hits, including “All I Have to Offer You (Is Me),” “(I’m So) Afraid of Losing You Again,” “Kiss an Angel Good Mornin’,” “Amazing Love” and many more. Charley won the CMA’s Entertainer of the Year award in 1971 and Top Male Vocalist in 1971 and 1972. Charley became the Grand Ole Opry’s first African-American member in 1993. Charley was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2000. He received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017 for outstanding contributions of artistic significance to the field of recording.
photo by The Country Daily