Country music fans are mourning the loss of George Strait’s drummer, Mike Kennedy, who was killed in an automobile accident Friday.
Kennedy died after his 1999 GMC Sierra hit a tractor trailer near the 238 mile marker on I-40 in Lebanon, TN, eventually colliding with a Chevrolet Silverado. No-one else was seriously injured in the accident, according to
“The heart beat of our band is gone,” says George Strait production manager Paul Rogers. “Not sure how we will get back on stage without him. But we must. Much love and respect my dear friend Mike Kennedy.”
Strait himself posted a tribute to his drummer of 30 years on Facebook.
“Hard to put into words how much Mike’s passing has affected us all,” the country legend wrote. “Our hearts are broken. It’s going to be very strange not being able to look over and see him there in his spot on stage and very emotional as well I’m sure for all of us and also his fans. The band will never be the same. A part of us is gone forever. We all loved Mike and will miss him terribly. He was just as solid a friend to us all as he was a drummer, and that was damn solid. Our hearts and prayers are with his family.
Straight concluded: “The Lord has him now. Rest In Peace my friend.”
Sad day for the Nashville music collective as Mike Kennedy, @GeorgeStrait longtime drummer of almost 30 years, has passed away in a car wreck yesterday. Mike was a great friend and big influence over the years. His pocket and personality will be sadly missed ‘round here.
— Lee Kelley (@LeeKelleyonDrms) September 1, 2018
USA Today reported that Kennedy was not wearing a seat belt when the accident occurred, but noted that investigators said it wouldn’t have saved him, such was the force of the impact.
Coincidentally, Strait’s teenage daughter, Jenifer, was killed in a traffic accident in 1986 aged just 13. Following this awful tragedy, the country star wrote a particularly personal song entitled “You’ll Be There.”
The chorus, in which Strait talks about seeing his precious daughter in heaven, is particularly powerful:
“Oh, my, my
I’ll see you on the other side
If I make it
And it might be a long hard ride
But I’m gonna take it
Sometime it seems that I don’t have a prayer
Let the weather take me anywhere
But I know that I want to go
The streets are gold ’cause you’ll be there
Oh, my, my”
“That song hit home for me for obvious reasons,” Strait told USA Weekend back in 2007. “I’m a religious person. I honestly believe we will see each other in heaven someday.”
Please pray for the Kennedy family at this difficult time.