Blake Shelton 'absolutely destroyed' over Earl Thomas Conley's death
"My heart is absolutely destroyed today," Shelton, 42, tweeted. "I’m sad to report that Earl Thomas Conley passed away very early this morning. Earl was my all time favorite singer, hero and my friend. Prayers to his family. We will all miss you deeply my brother. Now go rest..."
Conley was known for hit songs including "Holding Her and Loving You," "Somewhere Between Right and Wrong" and "Right From the Start."
Fred Conley told the Tennessean his brother suffered from a condition similar to dementia and had been in hospice care for several months. "He just kept losing ground," he stated. "I'm brokenhearted."
Shelton has called Conley, who helped pen his 2001 single "All Over Me," one of his greatest heroes.
“I find that as time goes by, my definition of a hero changes. My heroes have started to become my good friends,” he told People last year. “You start to find out, the older you get — I guess we all do — that a really good friend is a pretty rare thing to have in your life. That person. I’ve gotta say that the handful of really close friends that I have, those are my heroes. They’re the ones that will just drop everything to be there for you if they need to be. I hold them high.”
The Grammy nominated singer revealed it was Conley's music that made him want to be a country star.
“I always loved Earl Thomas Conley, but it wasn’t until I was about 18 that I really started to appreciate what a great singer he was," he told People in a 2014 interview. "He has a song called ‘What I’d Say’ that really takes me back. I’d listen to that thing a million times, just by myself in my studio apartment in Nashville, just trying to sing that. I wanted to sing like him, because I knew if I could, I maybe could make it one day.”