On Saturday, beloved country artist Charley Pride passed away in Dallas, Texas. Pride was the first Black artist to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and received the CMA Lifetime Achievement award.
He is also known for being a member of the Grand Ole Opry. A handful of Pride’s hit songs include “Kiss an Angel Good Mornin,'” “Just Between You and Me,” “All I Have to Offer Your (Is Me),” and “Is Anybody Goin’ to San Antone.”
Pride reportedly passed away from complications due to COVID-19. Some artists and fans have been wondering if the CMA Awards last month had anything to do with it.
In November, the CMAs received criticism for having an in-person award show. Many of the artists were not wearing face masks and prior to the event, there were many performers who were canceling due to testing positive. The show happened amongst the continuing spike in cases in both Nashville and across the nation.
For example, country artist Maren Morris speculated about his death. She wondered if it could be a result of the country music community not taking COVID-19 seriously enough. Many fans were quick to point out hypocrisy, though, considering she also attended the event.
Now, the CMA is breaking its silence.
“Charley was tested before traveling to Nashville. He was tested upon landing in Nashville and again on show day, with all negative tests. 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,” according to a statement from CMA.
A few weeks after the show, he began battling the virus. After weeks in the hospital, he passed away on Saturday morning.