DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – Country music legend Charlie Pride died at the age of 86 from complications related to cowid-19 disease in Dallas, his spokesman said Saturday.

In the country music world Pride was known as a pioneer of black artists.

In the late ’60s and early ’70s he was known for hits like Kiss An Angel Good Mornin’, Is Anybody Goin’ To San Antone and I’d rather Love You.

From 1967 to 1987 Pride had 52 top 10 country hits, numerous Grammy Awards and became the best-selling country artist on RCA Records.

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Charlie Pride will participate in the 54th edition of the CMA Awards at the Music City Center on the 11th. November 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Pictures for CMA)

His last performance was the farewell kiss from the angel at the presentation of the CMA Awards on November 11th. November 2020 at the Music City Center in Nashville.

There isn’t a single person in country music who isn’t in mourning right now, says Mark Hawkeye Luis of New Country 96.3 KSCS. He was a pioneer. Above all, he did something no one else could have imagined.

He was a real gentleman, said Jody Dean of the Texas Radio Hall of Fame. That word comes to mind when I think of Charlie. Take it easy, buddy.

Proudly raised in Sledge, Mississippi, by the son of a tenant farmer. He had seven brothers and three sisters.

When he accepted the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Mississippi Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts in 2008, Pride said he had never focused on racing.

My older sister once said why do you sing this music? Stolz said. But we all know what the syndrome was between you and us. You see, I’ve never accepted it as a person, and I sincerely believe that’s why I’m where I am now.

Before starting his singing career, he was a young man, pitcher and outfielder in the American Black League with the Memphis Red Sox and the Pioneer League in Montana.

After playing baseball in the Junior League for several years, he ended up in Helena, Montana, where he worked in a zinc factory during the day and played country music in nightclubs in the evening.

After auditioning with the New York Mets he went to Nashville and got into country music when Chet Atkins, the manager of RCA Records, heard two of his demos and signed a contract with him.

To judge that pride not by the competition but by his music, his first singles were sent to a radio station without publicity photos. After his identity became known, several radio stations in the country refused to broadcast his music.

Although according to Pride it was for the most part well received. At the beginning of his career he soothed a white audience by joking about his permanent brown color.

Music is the best means of communication on earth, he said in 1992. Once people heard the sincerity of my voice, heard my project and looked at what I said, it simply dispelled any fear or bad feeling they might have had.

Throughout his career he has sung more positive than sad songs, often associated with country music.

Music is a great way to express yourself, and I really believe that music shouldn’t be taken as a protest, he told The Associated Press in 1985. You can go too far in everything – in singing, in the theatre, in everything – and become so politicized that you are no longer an artist.

In 1994 he wrote his autobiography, Pride: Charlie’s proud story, in which he revealed that he was mildly manic-depressive.

In 1997 he had surgery to remove a tumor from his right vocal cord.

In 1997 he received the Living Legend Award from Nashville Network/Music City News in recognition of 30 years of work.

He was a man who could break the ice with his heat, Dean. Considering when he started, what he had to go through, what he never really said, what he went through anyway, and the steps he took… Country music, all that music owes him a debt of gratitude.

Instead of flowers, the Pride family asks fans to make a donation to the Pride Scholarship of Jesuit College Preparatory School, St Phillips School and Community Centre, a food bank or other charities.

Pride was a minority shareholder in the Texas Rangers baseball team. The team made a statement about his death.

The Rangers were honored that Mr. Pride has been a member of the group of team members for the past ten years. As a long-term resident of the region, he regularly attends home matches if his agenda permits. The last time he sang the Star Spangework was for the first regular season game on the 24th. July in the field of the Globe of Life.

Mr. Pride was a true gentleman, and we’ll never forget his long-term contribution to the Texas Rangers. We would like to express our deepest sympathy to Mr. M.’s family and friends on this sad day.

The popular Texas music promoter Billy Bob in Fort Worth offered his condolences.

With a heavy heart we share the fact that our friend Charlie Pride passed away at the age of 86. Charlie has performed here many times over the years on the world’s biggest honky tonk and in 1992 he left his mark on the racket. We’re thinking of his loved ones, the crowd said.

With a heavy heart we share the fact that our friend Charlie Pride passed away at the age of 86.

Charlie has performed here many times over the years on the world’s biggest honky tonk and in 1992 he left his mark on the racket. Our thoughts with his loved ones. pic.twitter.com/nGDjdTMWHa

– Texas Billy Boba (@BillyBobsTexas) 12. December 2020.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All rights reserved. Associated Press has contributed to this report).

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