George Strait’s longtime drummer was killed in a car crash on a Tennessee interstate highway Friday, according to officials with the Tennessee Highway Patrol.
Michael A. Kennedy, 59, of Baxter, Tennessee, died in a three-car crash on I-40W in Wilson County, WSMV reported. The GMC Kennedy was driving hit a tractor-trailer as it merged into another lane, The Tennessean reported. The tractor-trailer then hit a Chevrolet Silverado, the newspaper reported. Kennedy was not wearing a seat belt but investigators said it would not have saved him, WSMV reported.
The other two drivers were not injured, the television station reported.
Kennedy played drums for George Strait's Ace in the Hole Band since 1992, The Tennessean reported. He first appeared on Strait’s 1992 album “Holding My Own” before joining the group full time, Rolling Stone reported.
Before that, he played with Ricky Skaggs and Barbara Fairchild, WSMV reported.
"The heart beat of our band is gone," tweeted Paul Rogers, production manager for George Strait Productions. "Not sure how we will get back on stage without him. But we must. Much love and respect my dear friend Mike Kennedy.”
Strait, 66, retired from active touring in 2014. He is scheduled to perform in Las Vegas on Dec. 7, Rolling Stone reported.