Country music star Big Tom McBride has died

Big Tom onstage at the Cork Opera House in December 1981

Irish country music singer Big Tom McBride has died aged 81.

Speaking to Irish broadcaster RTÉ, Donegal singer Daniel O'Donnell described Big Tom McBride as "The King" of Irish country music.

"It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our dear father Big Tom McBride (RIP) this morning", his family announced this morning on his public Facebook page.

His family say he passed away peacefully this morning and will be sadly missed by all who new him.

I enjoyed tremendously meeting him on more than one occasion and getting to know him a little bit and certainly enough to know that this is truly a sad day for the country music scene in Ireland.

"May he rest in peace".

"His family I'm sure are just devastated".


"With his band the Mainliners, he filled dance halls the length and breadth of the country".

O'Donnell added that Big Tom was "such a connection" for people that had left the country.

People have been paying tribute to the showman and sharing their memories and anecdotes of "The King" of Irish country music.

"There is a huge and very passionate fan base out there for Irish country - you see it in all corners of Ireland - and this Late Late will be a true celebration of the music they love". "He reached out to people in Ireland and those people who had emigrated from Ireland". "I can't assume anything, only there is a great reunion in heaven today". Big Tom was the one that everybody saw as the main man. "He appealed to people and people knew looking at the show on stage that he was a nice man".

Philomena Begley spoke of how he'd light up a room.

Big Tom was known for hits including Four Country Roads, Back To Castleblayney and The Old Rustic Bridge.

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