Irish country music singer Big Tom dies

Country music singer Big Tom has died at the age of 81.

Tom McBride from County Monaghan is best known for hits including Four Country Roads, Back To Castleblayney and The Old Rustic Bridge.

The Mainliners frontman became the first person to be inducted into Ireland’s Country Music Hall Of Fame in 2016.

His family say he passed away peacefully this morning.

Their statement said: “Dad passed away peacefully in the company of his family. He will be sadly missed by all who knew him. May he rest in peace."

People have been [url= tribute[/url] to the showman and sharing their memories and anecdotes of 'The King' of Irish country music.

The Taoiseach Leo Varadkar sent his condolences to Big Tom's family on the news of his death.

He said: "I was very saddened to hear of the death of Big Tom this morning. Big Tom was certainly a giant in Irish country music for over 50 years.

"With his band the Mainliners, he filled dance halls the length and breadth of the country. His songs were a reflection of Irish life and an important connection for the Irish diaspora.

"Not many people are known by their first name, but that was Big Tom. It shows his popularity and legendary status as the king of Irish country music.

"I want to extend my condolences to his family and his huge army of fans."

His wife Rose, who was also well known on the country music scene, died at the end of January.

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Arts and TD for Cavan-Monaghan, Niamh Smyth, says the Irish music industry has lost a legend.

“I was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Big Tom this morning. He was an Irish music legend and a true gentleman”, said Deputy Smyth.

“Big Tom is a household name, not only in Ireland, but in many parts of the UK. He was a stalwart of the showband and country music scene with his band The Mainliners, with a career spanning more than 50 years.

“From Four Country Roads to Gentle Mother, his hits have travelled far and wide, earning him the title of the King of Country Music. Despite being a living legend, Tom was always an extremely humble and gentle man. Oram, Castleblayney to his core, he always spoke proudly about his Monaghan roots.

“Irish music has truly lost a legend today. I want to extend my sympathies to his family and friends.

“Ar Dheis Dé go raibh a anam.”

- Digital Desk

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