"It’s very hard to say he's dead" - Daniel O'Donnell

Country music in fans are in mourning today following the death of legendary singer Big Tom McBride – just two months after his wife died.

He died overnight, aged 81, just several weeks after his wife Rose passed away in February past after 50 years of happy marriage together.

He has been known simply as Big Tom since he shot to stardom in the 1960s to dominate the era’s showband scene and was today hailed as “the king” by Donegal music star Daniel O’Donnell.

Daniel said: "It's just so sad. On the other hand, he was probably heartbroken without his wife, Rose. Maybe for him, it's a gift from God.”

He added: "I'm sure since Rose died, his life was darker. Every step Tom took, Rose was a step behind him. I can't assume anything, only there is a great reunion in heaven today."

Country music stars Big Tom McBride and Daniel O'Donnell Country music stars Big Tom McBride and Daniel O'Donnell.

Daniel continued: “Everybody was shocked this morning when they woke up to hear that Big Tom is dead.

“It’s very hard to say that. I was only small when I first heard him sing. Songs are very emotive and Tom’s songs did that. All his song that he recorded were fantastic.

“I saw him last year. He was so good, but in the past few years Rose was always just walking behind him because his health wasn’t great.

“When Rose passed away, it really shocked him. Big Tom was the king and always will be the king.

“For us in country music, there never will be the likes of Big Tom, it doesn’t matter who comes or goes.”

The family of Big Tom, from Co Monaghan, released a statement to reveal that he passed away in the early hours of this morning.

His children announced the news via his Facebook page by writing: "It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our dear father Big Tom McBride (RIP) this morning.

“Dad passed away peacefully in the company of his family. He will be sadly missed by all who knew him. May he rest in peace."

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