Michael Kennedy, the drummer for George Strait's legendary Ace in the Hole band, died in a car accident on Friday, Aug. 31. He was 59 years old.
Kennedy, who performed with Strait for over 20 years, was killed near Lebanon, Tenn., just outside of Nashville. According to the Tennessean, Kennedy's vehicle hit a tractor trailer while traveling westbound on Interstate 40.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol stated that Kennedy was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident. However, investigators believe that the seatbelt would not have lessened his injuries. No one else was injured in the accident.
Earlier today, Strait posted a personal message on his Facebook page about Kennedy.
"Hard to put into words how much Mike's passing has affected us all," he wrote. "Our hearts are broken. It's going to be very strange not being able to look over and see him there in his spot on stage and very emotional as well I'm sure for all of us and also his fans. The band will never be the same. A part of us is gone forever. We all loved Mike and will miss him terribly. He was just as solid a friend to us all as he was a drummer, and that was damn solid. Our hearts and prayers are with his family. The Lord has him now. Rest In Peace my friend. -- George Strait"
"The heart beat of our band is gone," Paul Rogers, Strait's production manager also shared on Twitter. "Not sure how we will get back on stage without him. But we must. Much love and respect my dear friend Mike Kennedy."
During his long career, Kennedy also played with Ricky Skaggs, Jamey Johnson and Bill Anderson.