Oak Ridge Boys Singer William Lee Golden's Son Rusty Has Died
Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for CMT

Oak Ridge Boys Singer William Lee Golden Mourns Loss Of His Son Rusty In Touching Tribute

It's been a rough year for the Oak Ridge Boys. They experienced two losses on Easter weekend. Now, singer William Lee Golden is mourning the loss of his son Rusty.

William 'Rusty' Golden passed away on July 1 at the age of 65. He died at his home in Hendersonville, Tennessee. In a touching tribute, fellow singer Duane Allen shared a photo of himself and Rusty.

He wrote, "Rusty and I having one of our many conversations. I was telling Rusty that the first album I recorded with the Oak Ridge Boys was in this same studio in 1966. Rusty was like another son to me. I loved him like one of my own. Rusty was one of the sweetest people I have ever met. He had an electric personality that just lit up a room when he walked in. He has left us way too soon."

In an obituary published by the band, Golden said Rusty's death is the hardest thing he's ever faced. He wrote, "This is the hardest thing ever for a father to have to face. I love my family more than anything. Rusty was a great musician, a talented songwriter, and a wonderful son. We appreciate your thoughts and prayers for the days ahead. I love you, son."

William Lee Golden Mourns Son

Golden had Rusty with Frogene Golden on January 3, 1959, in Brewton, Alabama. Like his father, Rusty followed a passion of music. At just the age of 13, he started playing the drums professionally for the Rambos. He also had a great fondness for poetry as well. After seeing Elton John, Golden said that Rusty learned a passion for the piano. He toured playing with Larry Gatlin.

Rusty also contributed to his father's band as well. In 1984, he was awarded an RIAA Gold Record for the band's Bobbie Sue album. He would go on to found the group Golden Speer. In 2020, he formed a family band with his brother and father called William Lee Golden and The Goldens. They released 34 songs across two years.

The musician also had health issues. He had a quadruple bypass several years ago. He leaves behind a lasting legacy. The obituary reads, "In addition to his lengthy list of accolades as a songwriter and musician, Rusty Golden will be remembered as a charismatic entertainer, who could hold an audience in the palm of his hand with his energetic live performances. Throughout his life, he always had a tremendous connection with audiences whether he was on the Opry stage or in recent years performing regular gigs in Bahrain, where he earned a reputation as a riveting performer whose talents transcended any borders."