Charley Pride once did something that today seems unimaginable, but shows how strongly he believed in Brad Paisley's future. The young singer was just 15 years old when Pride told his father, Doug Paisley, "I'd love to help your son."

Since then, Pride and Paisley have shared many prestigious stages, including the at the CMA Awards and the White House, the latter in June 2009 (per NPR). Upon hearing of the 86-year-old's death on Saturday (Dec. 12), Paisley took to social media.

"The most generous, kind, trailblazing man has left us," he writes. "I met Charley Pride when I was 15. He gave his home phone number to my dad, and said 'I’d love to help your son.' And help he did. I am so blessed to have had so many memories with him."

"I’m devastated. You changed country music for the better, Charley. And you changed this kid’s life. We love you," he says.

Pride, a Country Music Hall of Fame artist, died from COVID-19 complications in Dallas, after being hospitalized in late November. Artists of every generation have mourned him on social media, with many sharing their own personal encounters: Dolly Parton called Pride one of her oldest and dearest friends, and Loretta Lynn grieved for him. Young artists including Maren Morris, Chris Young and Jason Isbell also spoke up.

A private memorial is planned for Pride's closest friends and family, with a public celebration of his life postponed for a time when it's safe to gather in large groups.

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