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Charley Pride
Credit: Terry Wyatt/Getty Images

The Country Music Association has issued a statement following the death of country icon Charley Pride from COVID-19 on Saturday, a month after he appeared at the CMA Awards.

Pride made his final public appearance at the ceremony on Nov. 11, during which he performed and was honored with the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award. The celebration was held indoors, which has drawn criticism over the possibility that he may have contracted the illness at the event.

Among those questioning the safety of the gathering have been Maren Morris, who in a since-deleted tweet wrote, “I don’t want to jump to conclusions because no family statement has been made. But if this was a result of the CMAs being indoors, we should all be outraged. Rest in power, Charley."

Singer Mickey Guyton, who was also at the event, replied to Morris insisting, “We need answers as to how Charley Pride got covid.”

The discussion has prompted representatives for the CMAs to post a response, maintaining all necessary precautions were taken to ensure the safety of those in attendance.

"Everyone affiliated with the CMA Awards followed strict testing protocols outlined by the city health department and unions. Charley was tested prior to traveling to Nashville," they wrote. "He was tested upon landing in Nashville, and again on show day, with all tests coming back negative. After returning to Texas following the CMA Awards, Charley again tested negative multiple times. All of us in the Country Music community are heartbroken by Charley's passing. Out of respect for his family during their grieving period, we will not be commenting on this further."

Further details of Pride's death were shared by his family in a statement on Sunday.

"It is with great sadness that we confirm that Charley Pride passed away this morning, Saturday, December 12, 2020, in Dallas, Texas of complications from COVID-19 at age 86," they posted on Facebook on Sunday. "He was admitted to the hospital in late November with COVID-19 type symptoms and despite the incredible efforts, skill and care of his medical team over the past several weeks, he was unable to overcome the virus. Charley felt blessed to have such wonderful fans all over the world. And he would want his fans to take this virus very seriously."

They have asked that in lieu of flowers for donations to The Pride Scholarship at Jesuit College Preparatory SchoolSt. Philips School and Community Center or The Food Bank.

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