Sadness at passing of country legend Big Tom

Big Tom

The renowned Irish country music singer, Big Tom McBride, has died at the age of 81.

Fianna Fáil TD for Roscommon/Galway and former country music radio presenter, Eugene Murphy expressed his great sadness at the passing of Big Tom McBride.

Among those who paid tribute to him were Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Donegal's Daniel O'Donnell.

The Monaghan man was inducted into the Irish Country Music Awards Hall of Fame in June 2016.

Daniel O'Donnell on Big Tom "He will be missed so, so much".

"I am only getting my head around it", he told Irish broadcaster RTÉ.

"It's just so sad". I am sure I speak for the nation when I say we have lost on of the all-time great Country music stars who was also a genuine man who loved his family and fans. When first introduced to Tom by Joe Finnegan more than 20 years ago we became great friends and he would regular call me to chat about my Sunday morning show and the new talent that I introduced there.

President Michael D Higgins referred to Big Tom as one of the most "charismatic and influential artists in Irish country music".

He was a stalwart of the showband and country music scene with his band The Mainliners, with a career spanning more than 50 years. His songs were a reflection of Irish life and an important connection for the Irish diaspora.

"Not many people are known by their first name, but that was Big Tom". "Country music is richer because of him, he has left so much behind", he said.

Tom was one of four children born to parents who had a farm near Castleblayney in Co Monaghan but his actual musical career began in Scotland and England.

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