NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Country singer Daryle Singletary passed away at his Lebanon, Tennessee home at the age of 46 Monday morning. His cause of death was not immediately known, but family members and friends say the death was unexpected.
His hit singles include "I Let Her Lie,” "Amen Kind of Love,” and "Too Much Fun." The Grand Ole Opry expressed its condolences on social media.
Our hearts are breaking at the loss of Daryle Singletary this morning. He was a great friend to us all, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family. pic.twitter.com/kuWgVs8pFa— Grand Ole Opry (@opry) February 12, 2018
Singletary was born in Cairo, Georgia and was among a wave of country traditionalists in the late 1990s.
Country Music legend Randy Travis was one of the first to discover Singletary, and one night at a small bar off Trinity Lane, fate struck a note when Rob Hendon was in the audience while Singletary was singing cover songs.
"I think it was meant to be for me to go to The Broken Spoke and hear Daryle that night," Hendon said, who was working at Giant Records at the time.
Singletary signed with Giant, and recorded multiple albums, along with his first big hit "I Let Her Lie."
For those who knew Singletary, the news Monday morning was hard to get, but the music he produced and the joy he brought his fans made it easier to cope.
"He loved Country music here in Nashville and just played every chance he could get," Chuck Rhodes, Singletary's longtime friend and business partner said. "He was a phenomenon. He was one of the most gifted vocalists that there's been in our business."
One of his best friends, Darryl Worley, said Singletary was "the best friend a Country song ever had," always playing traditional Country music and doing so with his booming voice.
"I've always called Daryle the keeper of the lost tradition. If you went out to see him play, you were gonna get a Country show," Worley said. "I know he's gonna be missed. We're gonna mis that incredibly undeniable Country voice, because there's nobody out there that can do it like him."
While Singletary's friends recognized his talent, many Country acts said his influence can't be matched.
"I doubt there's a guy singer in Country music that hasn't been influenced by Daryle at some point," Country artist Craig Campbell said. "If you look it up in the dictionary: 'Male Country Singer Voice,' Daryl Singletary's picture will be there. He's the best."
Country artist Josh Turner credits Singletary for his move to Nashville from South Carolina, which brought Turner success and launched his career to new heights.
"Daryle has always had a special place in my heart because he was kind of that signpost at that crossroads in my life," Turner said.
According to Turner, he went to a show with Singletary opening for George Jones, two of his favorite artists. He heard that Singletary was signing autographs after the show, so he stayed after and made sure he was last in line so that he would get more time to chat with one of his heroes.
Turner explained where he was in his career as a songwriter and performer, and that's when he was given the advice that changed his life.
"He told me to move to where the music is, which was basically saying, 'Hey, you need to go to Nashville if you're going to make this happen.' So that was a turning point in my life," Turner recalled. "He was just one of the most naturally talented Country singers that I think has ever lived.
Beyond music, Singletary's friends said he was simply a good human.
"He loved his family more than he loved Country music," Rhodes said of his longtime friend.
Campbell agreed, saying, "He's definitely somebody that I believe did everything that he could to make his family proud, and I believe he did that."
Singletary is survived by his wife, Holly; two sons, Jonah and Mercer; two daughters, Nora and Charlotte, as well as his parents and siblings. Funeral arrangements were pending.
Country Stars React To Daryle Singletary's Death