The late Big Tom had a number of links to Dundalk

The late Big Tom had a number of links to Dundalk

The Irish country singer Big Tom McBride has passed away at the age of 81.

He tweeted: "Big Tom McBride a lovely man RIP, deepest sympathies to his family".

They said he would "be sadly missed by all who knew him". "May he rest in peace", the statement continued. He was a stalwart of the showband and country music scene with his band The Mainliners, with a career spanning more than 50 years. He was given a lifetime achievement awards at the Irish Country Music Awards in 2016.

He was one of several artists who took part in a charity concert in Letterkenny a year ago following the August floods that devastated parts of Donegal.

Paying tribute this morning, Daniel O'Donnell said: "We all referred to him as the King".

President Michael D. Higgins said: "Lovers and supporters of Irish music everywhere will have heard the news of the death of Big Tom McBride with sadness".

O'Donnell talked about his memories of going to dances, hearing Four Country Roads in the late 1970s and early 1980s and seeing big Tom.

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Taoiseach Leo Varadkar also paid tribute today, calling Big Tom a "giant in country music".

"There was something special about his music, Big Tom was the one everyone saw as the main man".

"His family I'm sure are just devastated". His songs were a reflection of Irish life and an important connection for the Irish diaspora.

He continued: "It is just so sad".

"Big Tom is a household name, not only in Ireland, but in many parts of the UK".

"Ireland's King of Country Music for so many years and his legacy will live on for many years to come".

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