Randall "Poodie" Locke has passed away at age 56 from an apparent heart attack. Willie Nelson's stage manager of 34 years was somewhat of a celebrity himself, especially in Texas. He ran Poodie's Hilltop Bar & Grill in the small town of Spicewood, where people flock to eat, drink and hear live country music by everyone from local acts to Willie himself, who is known to throw impromptu shows there in between tour stops.

"Willie loved Poodie's exuberance," friend Casey Monahan tells the American Statesman. "Willie's whole thing is living in the moment, and that was Poodie."

"He was the heart and soul of the road crew," echoes Joe Nick Patoski, author of the Willie Nelson biography, 'An Epic Life.' "Although the touring life can be stressful, Poodie always had a smile because, after all, he had the best seat in the house."

Poodie got his nickname after winning the Most Beautiful Baby contest in Waco, Texas, when he was just a few months old. His sister couldn't pronounce the word "pretty" when referring to her sibling, and instead described him as "poodie" -- a name that stuck.

Read the American Statesman's tribute to Poodie here.