General News

Willie Nelson pays tribute to late guitarist

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Aug 11, 2013 | 5:29am EDT

Country legend Willie Nelson has paid tribute to his longtime guitarist Jody Payne following his death on Saturday (10Aug13). The 77 year old, who toured with Nelson for more than three decades, passed away in the early hours of Saturday after suffering cardiac problems at his home in Alabama. Nelson addressed the tragedy in a post on his Facebook.com page, writing, "Sad to report that Jody Payne passes (sic) away. Our friend will be missed." The musician retired from the road in 2008, and Nelson's son Lucas stepped in to take his place in the band. Lucas posted a picture and video of Payne on his Twitter.com page, adding, "Lost a great mentor today, Jody Payne... he will be missed." The guitarist, who was born James L. Payne, performed with stars including Ray Price and Merle Haggard before joining Nelson's band in 1973. He was divorced from country singer Sammi Smith, mother of his performer son Waylon Payne, while he was father to another son, Austin, from his second marriage to wife Vicki.

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