Trailblazing country music singer Charley Pride dead at 86
Charley Pride. File photo
Pride's family confirmed his death in a statement, saying he had passed away in Dallas, Texas.
Born in racially segregated Mississippi in 1934, Pride was known for 1970s hits including "Kiss an Angel Good Mornin'" and was the first African American to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Signed to RCA Records, he became the label's biggest-selling performer since Elvis Presley.
Tributes poured in from country music luminaries in the wake of the news, with Dolly Parton saying she was "heartbroken".
Former US president George W. Bush also paid tribute, in a statement praising Pride as a "fine gentleman with a great voice."
Organizers in the wake of the news defended their decision to go ahead with the event despite the pandemic, saying Pride had tested negative prior to attending.
In a statement on his official Facebook page, Pride's family said he "felt blessed to have such wonderful fans all over the world."
"And he would want his fans to take this virus very seriously," they said.