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Nashville, Tenn. – Country music star George Strait says he’s heartbroken over the death of his longtime drummer in a highway accident near Nashville.

Strait spokeswoman Ebie McFarland confirmed 59-year-old Michael A. Kennedy of Baxter, Tennessee, died Friday.

The Tennessean reported Kennedy had been the drummer for Strait’s Ace in the Hole Band for nearly 30 years.

Strait says in a statement that his band “will never be the same.” He adds, “a part of us is gone forever. We all loved Mike and will miss him terribly.”

A report from the Tennessee Highway Patrol says Kennedy was driving on Interstate 40 when he merged into another lane. Authorities say Kennedy’s vehicle collided with a tractor trailer, which then hit a pickup truck. No one else was injured.

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