Country music legend Charley Pride dies at 86

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Charley Pride, a trailblazing member of the Grand Ol' Opry and Country Music Hall of Fame and a minority owner in the Texas Rangers, died Saturday in Dallas due to complications from COVID-19.

Pride's final performance came on November 11 this year when he sang Kiss An Angel Good Mornin' during the Country Music Association Awards show at Nashville's Music City Centre with contemporary star Jimmie Allen. He scored 29 No. 1 hits between 1969 and 1983 and charted 67 singles in his groundbreaking career.as well as the CMA Entertainer of the Year award in 1971.

Born a sharecropper's son in Sledge, Miss., on March 18, 1934, Charley Frank Pride bought his first guitar at age 14 and taught himself how to play.

Among Pride's best known songs were Kiss An Angel Good Mornin', Is Anybody Going To San Antone? and Mountain Of Love.

As a young man before launching his singing career, he was a pitcher and outfielder in the Negro American League with the Memphis Red Sox and in the Pioneer League in Montana.

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He rose to great fame in the early to mid-1970s, when he became the best-selling performer for RCA Records since Elvis Presley.

'My older sister one time said, 'Why are you singing THEIR music?' Pride said.

In 2008 while accepting a Lifetime Achievement Award as part of the Mississippi Governor's Awards for Excellence in the Arts, Pride said he never focused on race. Few other artists have grown country music's rich heritage and led to the advancement of country music around the world like Charley. "He is among country music's most beloved and respected figures, and he found self-expression to be the most crucial political statement". Upon hearing the news of the pioneering country artist's death, his fans and friends took to social media to grieve and pay tribute.

Charley leaves behind his wife, his three children and several grandchildren.

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