Sad news for country fans everywhere. George Strait’s longtime drummer, Mike Kennedy, died in a car accident on August 31. The musician was only 59 years-old. The accident occurred outside of Nashville near Lebanon, Tennessee. The King of Country has lost a beloved band member, and country music itself is poorer for the loss.
Kennedy was headed west on I-40, driving his 1999 GMC Sierra, when he collided with a tractor-trailer as both vehicles merged into another lane. The tractor-trailer then hit a Chevrolet pickup. According to the Tennessean, Kennedy wasn’t wearing a seatbelt. However, accident investigators report that the accident was severe enough that a belt wouldn’t have saved his life had he been wearing one. No other injuries were sustained in the crash.
“The heart of our band is gone,” Paul Rogers (production manager for George Strait) said on Twitter. “Not sure how we will get back on stage without him. Much love and respect my dear friend Mike Kennedy.”
Kennedy spent almost 30 years as the drummer for Strait’s Ace in the Hole Band. He first played on the album Holding My Own, released in 1992. Through his rich career, Kennedy also worked with Jamey Johnson, Barbara Fairchild, Ricky Skaggs, Bill Anderson, and Freddie King. Kennedy was a lefthanded drummer and a valued member of Strait’s band.
Though Strait retired from touring four years ago, he’s currently scheduled to perform a concert in Las Vegas this December.