Bluegrass legend and prominent flatpicker, the great Tony Rice passed away on Christmas day. He was 69.
His longtime friend and collaborator Ricky Skaggs released the following statement on behalf of the family:
“Sometime during Christmas morning while making his coffee, our dear friend and guitar hero Tony Rice passed from this life and made his swift journey to his heavenly home. It’s still quite a shock to the whole family.
After talking with Tony’s wife Pam and their daughter India, they asked if I would make a statement on their behalf and give them some privacy to process during this difficult time. I was honored to help out. Tony is also survived by his brothers Wyatt and Ronnie, and all of you who loved his music and those who will continue to share it with others.”
As one of the most talented pickers in the history of bluegrass, his influence is widespread in the country music community. And many, including Luke Combs, Jason Isbell, and more, have taken to social media to offer their condolences, share their memories, and give thanks for the impact that he has left on them.
Tony Rice was the king of the flatpicked flattop guitar. His influence cannot possibly be overstated. If you aren’t familiar with his music, please look it up. I don’t know if a person can make anything more beautiful. #RIPTonyRice
Tony Rice… One of my very favorites. I’ve gotten so much enjoyment over the years from listening to his records, bootleg cassette tapes & finding gems on YouTube (look for the @MerleFest stuff). Thank you Jill Douglas for introducing me. ❤️ Thank you Tony for the music. pic.twitter.com/MyEtPqGZ5j
I’ve listened and cried all evening like so many others… heartbroken by the passing of Tony Rice. 💔 His music has influenced me as much as anyone I could ever imagine… from the moment I heard Church Street Blues at 8 years old till now. This one really hurts. RIP Tony 😭
Before I was Meghan Patrick, country artist, I was 1/4 of The Stone Sparrows, and before that I was 1/2 of The Stone Broke Buskers with Sam Balson who introduced me to bluegrass, and specifically the magic that is Tony Rice’s guitar playing. I am so broken-hearted that
Tony Rice inspired so many including a kid like me from East Tennessee who was in awe of the way he sang and played Me And My Guitar. I’ll never forget seeing him sing that at the IBMA Bluegrass Festival in Owensboro, Ky. It’s printed in my brain forever! Rest In Peace Tony Rice. pic.twitter.com/AZPGZpyCMN