Loretta Lynn, Alabama + More Country Artists Mourn Ralph Emery’s Death: ‘A Nashville Original’
Country music lost one of its heroes over the weekend, as legendary TV and radio broadcaster Ralph Emery died on Saturday (Jan. 15) at the age of 88. After news broke of his death, many of the stars whose lives he touched over the years flocked to social media to share their memories of Emery and bid him a final farewell.
Loretta Lynn offered a few words about Emery's massive impact on the country genre, and spoke to her experience with him as both an interviewer and as a friend.
"Ralph and I go way back," Lynn writes on social media, posting a black-and-white photo of a young Emery grinning from behind a microphone as well as a more current photo of him, albeit with the same twinkling smile.
"He was a Nashville original and you cannot underestimate the role he played in the success and growth of country music," she continues. "He made you feel at ease and interviewed everyone just like an old friend. From WSM to Nashville Now, he was one of the best. He became a dear friend to me and Doo over the years and I'm gonna miss him. I wish we could sit down together for a talk just one more time."
Esteemed duo Brooks & Dunn also paid tribute to Emery's life and legacy, though more succinctly.
"No words for what this man did for country music, no words," the duo state alongside a picture of Emery sharing a laugh with Brooks & Dunn bandmates Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn.
Alabama also testified to Emery's genial, respectful approach to interviewing, saying, "He was always a gentleman to us with great respect. We salute a true legend. We will miss you."
Echoing that sentiment is Ronnie Milsap, who says, "You were always so good to me." The Oak Ridge Boys' William Lee Golden thanked Emery for his "years of friendship," while Ray Stevens posted a photo collage of memories in tribute to "my dear friend."
A younger crop of country superstars also paid tribute to Emery and his lasting legacy; Rascal Flatts bandmate Jay DeMarcus shared his first memories of the legendary broadcaster, saying that hearing his interviews growing up helped foster DeMarcus' passion for country music.
"Heaven's getting crowded with heroes," DeMarcus adds.
According to a statement from his family, Emery died peacefully at Nashville's Tristar Medical Center, surrounded by his loved ones. The Country Hall of Famer is survived by his wife, Joy Emery, as well as three sons, five grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. No cause of death has been revealed, and funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.