Kentucky singer Troy Gentry, half of the well-known country group Montgomery Gentry, died Friday in a helicopter crash, the band’s official Twitter account said.
The crash occurred at about 1 p.m. in a wooded area of Medford, N.J., the band confirmed on social media.
The pilot of the helicopter, identified as James Evan Robinson, 30, of Meigs, Ga., died at the scene of the crash and Gentry was pronounced dead at a local hospital, according to The Associated Press.
A Montgomery Gentry concert was scheduled for Friday night at Flying W Airport & Resort in Medford, N.J., according to a Facebook post by the resort. The concert was canceled about 2 p.m.
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“It is with great sadness that we confirm that Troy Gentry, half of the popular country duo, Montgomery Gentry, was tragically killed in a helicopter crash,” the band’s statement said. “Troy Gentry’s family wishes to acknowledge all of the kind thoughts and prayers, and asks for privacy at this time.”
The band said on Twitter that details surrounding the crash are unknown.
Gentry, a Lexington native, had been singing with Eddie Montgomery, also from Kentucky, for more than 18 years. Montgomery Gentry’s debut album was released in 1999.
The group has recorded several hits, with more than a dozen songs reaching the Billboard 100. In 2015, Montgomery Gentry was inducted into the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame.
The music video for one of the band’s biggest hits, “My Town,” was partially filmed in Lexington.
Gentry and Montgomery performed often at Austin City Saloon even before their first album was released. The Lexington bar posted on Facebook on Friday that Gentry had a “massive role in making this ol’ honky tonk what it is today and that shall never be forgotten.”
“The legacy he leaves behind is one many people strive to obtain that take our stage and that will echo as long as there is the strum of a guitar, the buzz of a speaker and breath upon a microphone,” Austin City Saloon said in the statement.
Dillon Carmichael, Montgomery’s nephew, performed at Austin City Saloon on Friday evening. Carmichael said there are endless stories about Montgomery and Gentry there.
“This stage right here is where they cut their teeth,” said. “This whole building’s got a special connection for me.
“Tonight we’re going to do our best to celebrate Troy’s life,” Carmichael added. “We’re really going to be keeping Troy and the family in mind. We’re going to dedicate tonight to him.”
Walker Montgomery, another nephew of Eddie Montgomery, was scheduled to perform Saturday at Kentucky football’s pregame concert. He announced on the Kentucky Athletics Twitter account that he would perform as planned.
“I am devastated by the passing of Troy Gentry,” Walker Montgomery said in the statement. “I’m thankful for the years of friendship and support he always offered.”
Walker Montgomery is the son of Eddie Montgomery’s brother, singer John Michael Montgomery.
“I’m honoring Troy in the best way I know with music and UK sports,” he said in Friday’s statement. “Two things that meant so much to him.”
Several country music stars took to social media Friday to react to Gentry’s death.
“So sad to hear the news of Troy Gentry,” singer Sheryl Crow tweeted. “My prayers are with his family and friends.”
“My heart is broken! Troy Gentry was a dear friend!” singer Travis Tritt said on Twitter. “My love and sympathy to Angie and his family at this tragic time.”
“I’m speechless,” singer Josh Turner tweeted. “Pray with me for the family of Don Williams & especially the family of Troy Gentry. It’s a heavy day for country music.”