In Memoriam: The Country Stars We Lost In 2023

(Left) Michael Loccisano / Staff / Getty Images / (Center) Bruce Glikas / Contributor / Getty Images / (Right) Mireya Acierto / Contributor / Getty Images

Remembering Members Of The Country Music Community Who Passed Away In 2023

As 2023 comes to a close, we wanted to pause and remember the country stars we lost this year. We do this not to dwell in sadness, but to honor those who made a huge impact in the country music community.

This list recognizes singers, songwriters, musicians, and “friends” of the community who performed other genres. We miss each and every one of them…

Anita Pointer

 

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Anita Pointer of The Pointer sisters actually passed away on New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2022. But the general public did not learn about her death until the following day, January 1.

Pointer was 74 years old, and died following a battle with cancer.

Lisa Marie Presley

The world was shocked when Lisa Marie Presley passed away unexpectedly on January 12. She was 54 years old.

Presley’s autopsy results were released in July. They indicated her death was caused by a “sequelae of a small bowel obstruction.”

She was laid to rest in the Meditation Garden at her father Elvis‘ Graceland estate in Memphis, Tennessee.

David Crosby

The legendary David Crosby of The Byrds and Crosby, Stills & Nash passed away on January 18. He was 81 years old.

Peter McCann

He has written hit songs for Reba McEntire, Crystal Gayle, Jim Ed Brown, Mickey Gllley, and many more.

May he rest in peace 🙏

Posted by Country Rebel on Thursday, February 2, 2023

Singer-songwriter Peter McCann passed away in his sleep on January 26. He was 74 years old.

McCann was known for writing songs such as “Do You Wanna Make Love,” “Right Time of the Night,” and “Take Good Car of My Heart.” The latter song was recorded by Whitney Houston, and sold over 20 million copies.

Kyle Jacobs

Kyle Jacobs and Kellie Pickler
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Songwriter Kyle Jacobs died by suicide on February 17. He was 49 years old.

Jacobs’ widow, country singer Kellie Pickler, thanked people for their support in a statement she shared in August. “It has truly touched my soul and it’s helping me get through the darkest time in my life,” she said.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, text “TALK ” to 741-741, or visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

Calvin Newton

Calvin Newton, the former lead singer of the Oak Ridge Boys, passed away on March 3. He was 93 years old.

Current member Joe Bonsall remembered him in a post on social media. He said Newton had the “sweetest tenor voice you’ll ever hear.”

Gary Rossington

Gary Rossington of Lynyrd Skynyrd
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Lynyrd Skynyrd founding member and guitarist Gary Rossington passed away on March 5. He was 71 years old.

Skynyrd shared the news on their official social media pages, saying:

Gary is now with his Skynyrd brothers and family in heaven and playing it pretty, like he always does.”

Keith Gattis

 

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Country singer-songwriter and guitarist Keith Gattis passed away on April 23 following a tractor accident. He was 52 years old.

John Osborne of Brothers Osborne penned a touching tribute to Gattis after his death. He said:

Keith Gattis was the most real person you’d ever meet in your life. An extraordinary talent on every level.”

Gordon Lightfoot

Photo of Gordon Lightfoot
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The legendary Gordon Lightfoot died of natural causes on May 1. He was 84 years old.

His team shared the news of his passing in a statement on his official Facebook page, writing:

“It is with profound sadness that we confirm that Gordon Meredith Lightfoot has passed away. Gordon died peacefully on Monday, May 1, 2023 at 730 p.m. at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto.”

Jesse McReynolds

 

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Bluegrass musician and Grand Ole Opry member Jesse McReynolds passed away on June 23. He was 93 years old, and was the oldest standing member of the Opry at the time of his death.

McReynolds died of natural causes. 

The Opry paid tribute to him and his 59 years of membership. They said, “Thank you for everything, Jesse. We love you.

Bobby Osborne

RELATED: WHO IS NOW THE OLDEST LIVING MEMBER OF THE OPRY AFTER BOBBY OSBORNE’S DEATH?

The Grand Ole Opry lost another one of its longtime members when Bobby Osborne passed away on June 27. After McReynolds died on the 23rd, Osborne was then the oldest living solo member of the Opry at the age of 91.

Osborne was remembered in a tribute from the Opry, which read:

We’re so thankful the Opry was home sweet home to you, Bobby Osborne. Thank you for all the cherished memories and dedication. We love you.

Randy Meisner

Randy Meisner of the Eagles
Gijsbert Hanekroot / Contributor / Getty Images

Randy Meisner, one of the founders of the Eagles, died on July 26 due to complications from COPD. He was 77 years old.

The Eagles remembered him in a tribute on social media, writing:

“Randy was an integral part of the Eagles and instrumental in the early success of the band. His vocal range was astonishing, as is evident on his signature ballad, ‘Take It to the Limit.'”

Annie Lauren

Singer, songwriter, and photographer Annie Lauren passed away on August 24 following “a brief and unexpected battle with cancer.” She was 29 years old.

Lauren’s loved ones shared a heartbreaking statement about her passing. “Her spirit is brighter than can ever be put into words,” they said.

Roland “Big Arnie” Adams

Roland “Big Arnie” Adams, a former drummer for country stars such as Johnny Paycheck and George Jones, passed away on August 28. He was 86 years old.

“Though the frequency of ‘the wild times’ diminished with age, his love and devotion to family and friends never did. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him,” read his obituary.

Jimmy Buffett

 

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The legendary Jimmy Buffett passed away on September 1 after privately battling Merkel cell carcinoma, a form of skin cancer. He was 76 years old.

Jimmy passed away peacefully on the night of September 1st surrounded by his family, friends, music and dogs,” his team shared in a statement on social media. “He lived his life like a song till the very last breath and will be missed beyond measure by so many.”

Charlie Robison

Photo of Charlie Robison
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Country singer-songwriter Charlie Robison passed away on September 9, just days after his 59th birthday. A family representative told AP News Robison died at a San Antonio hospital “after suffering cardiac arrest and other complications.”

Robison was previously married to Emily Erwin (now Emily Strayer) of The Chicks from 1999-2008. They shared three children. He and his second wife, Kristen Robison, share a son.

After Robison died, Kristen said “My heart is broken. Please pray for me, our children, and our family.

Dave Roe

 

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Dave Roe, Johnny Cash‘s beloved bass player, died in September. He was 71 years old.

Roe became known as “one of the best ‘slap bass’ players in the world” during his time with Cash. This, despite the fact that he didn’t know how to play upright bass at first.

Cash’s son, John Carter, remembered Roe in a tribute on Instagram, writing:

“So long, sailor, may fair-winds send you too distant shores. So much to say, have to process. The master who made the dream a reality has had his time here on this earth. We will have numerous recordings of his wondrous playing to keep us company, but I for one will miss the man.”

Mike Henderson

Chris Stapleton and Mike Henderson accept a CMA Award
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Mike Henderson, a founding member of the bluegrass band The SteelDrivers, passed away in his sleep on September 22. He was 70 years old.

Henderson was good friends with another former SteelDrivers member, Chris Stapleton. They wrote many of Stapleton’s songs together, including the Grammy-winning tracks “Starting Over” and “Broken Halos.”

The SteelDrivers shared a statement about Henderson’s death on their Facebook page, which read:

So all the SteelDrivers, past and present, are in shock today as we have lost our original architect.”

Buck Trent

Legendary musician and Hee Haw star Buck Trent died on October 9. He was 85 years old.

Trent’s wife, Jean, confirmed the news of his passing on Facebook, writing:

“I lost my best friend, and the world lost a Master Musician and Country Music Legend.”

Abe Stoklasa

 

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Highly respected Nashville musician and songwriter Abe Stoklasa died on November 17. He was 38 years old.

Stoklasa wrote songs recorded by the likes of Tim McGraw, Chris Lane, and Lady A. After he passed, Lady A’s Charles Kelley honored him in a tribute on social media, writing:

“I’ll never listen to the songs we shared together the same or forget the moments we had onstage and on the late night bus rides. Nashville will never see another Abe Stoklasa. I’ll miss you my soft spoken friend.”

Terry Baucom

Terry Baucom
Terry Baucom / Facebook

Bluegrass banjoist Terry Baucom passed away on December 7 due to complications of Lewy body dementia. He was 71 years old.

His former bandmate and boss, Doyle Lawson, shared the news of his passing on Facebook:

Bauc never tried to dazzle you with his picking, never sought attention for himself but attention came to him because of the uniqueness of his picking. In addition to that he was a solid bass and baritone singer. And I’m gonna miss that dry sense of humor that was his and only his. Rest in peace dear friend, your journey here is complete.”

Laura Lynch

 

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Laura Lynch was a country singer and musician who co-founded The Dixie Chicks (now known as The Chicks). Sadly, Lynch was killed in a car accident on December 22. She was 65 years old.

The current Chicks mourned Lynch’s death in a statement on social media, writing:

“Laura had a gift for design, a love of all things Texas and was instrumental in the early success of the band. Her undeniable talents helped propel us beyond busking on street corners to stages all across Texas and the mid-West. Our thoughts are with her family and loved ones at this sad time.”

Before you go, head below to watch the official music video for Jimmy Buffett’s song “Bubbles Up.” The song was released days after he passed away, and fans have found comfort in it, as it seems to serve as a “goodbye” message of sorts.

By continuing to remember Buffett and all of these stars, we ensure their legacies…and their music…will always live on.

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