Country singer Earl Thomas Conley is dead at age 77

2017 Nashville Songwriters Hall Of Fame Awards
Getty Images | Rick Diamond

A country legend has left us. Earl Thomas Conley passed away just after midnight on April 10, at 77 years old.

The country singer had been under hospice care for several months for an illness similar to dementia. His brother, Fred Conley, confirmed the news in The Tennessean.

“He just kept losing ground,” he said. “I’m brokenhearted.”

And Conley’s brother wasn’t the only one left devastated by the news. The country community has taken to social media to mourn the loss of a singer known for hits such as  “Holding Her and Loving You” and “Once in a Blue Moon.”

Listen to one of Conley’s hit songs from his official YouTube channel:

Blake Shelton was one of the first to write a remembrance of his fellow musician, idol and friend.

“My heart is absolutely destroyed today,” Shelton said in an Instagram post. “I’m sad to report that Earl Thomas Conley passed away very early this morning. Earl was my all time favorite singer, hero and my friend. Prayers to his family. We will all miss you deeply my brother. Now go rest …”:

It wasn’t long before other musicians began singing praises of Conley and his contribution to the country music industry.

In a tweet, Toby Keith remembered Conley as an “all time great” and a “huge influence”:

And Steve Wariner took a moment on Twitter to appreciate the fact that Conley “made great records … and left them here for all to enjoy.”

John Rich of Big & Rich recalled how much he looked up to Conley, writing in a tweet, “I studied his records like text books and could play every note of every song.”

Clearly, Conley left his mark on the country music world.

Joe Galante, who was the head of RCA Records when Conley was signed, told The Tennessean that Conley’s success in the industry could be credited to the way he stood out from other singers at the time.

“You always talk about finding something unique, and his voice certainly did that,” Galante said. “He had this mix of … a very country, very sensitive, intimate approach to his music, and you could hear the ache in everything that he did. Then at the same time, he’d come rocking out on something else and there was this guy who just loved to have a good time. You could just hear it in the music.”

Conley is survived by four siblings, four children, five grandchildren and an entire world of country music fans who will not soon forget his legacy.

Rest in peace, Conley.

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I have a B.F.A. in Writing from the Savannah College of Art and Design. I’m an avid writer with a genuine sense of curiosity. I feel the best way to absorb the world around you is through fashion, art and food, so that’s what I spend most of my time writing about.

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