AceShowbiz - The Country Music Association has defended its recent annual awards event after it was linked to Charley Pride's death. The country music legend passed away on Saturday, December 12, a month after performing and being presented with a lifetime achievement award at the November 11 event, prompting many to speculate if he contracted the virus while attending the show.
Responding to this, the CMA issued a statement on Sunday to address how they made sure the safety during the indoor event. "Everyone affiliated with the CMA Awards followed strict testing protocols outlined by the city health department and unions. Charley was tested prior to traveling to Nashville," they wrote.
The CMA further stated, "He was tested upon landing in Nashville, and again on show day, with all tests coming back negative. After returning to Texas following the CMA Awards, Charley again tested negative multiple times. All of us in the Country Music community are heartbroken by Charley's passing. Out of respect for his family during their grieving period, we will not be commenting on this further."
Among those questioning the safety of the CMAs was Maren Morris, who was also present at the event. "I don't want to jump to conclusions because no family statement has been made, but if this was a result of the CMAs being indoors, we should all be outraged," the 30-year-old star tweeted on Saturday while mourning Charley's death. "Rest in power, Charley."
One person criticized Maren for her suspicion, writing, "Coming from an artist that also attended the indoor event..." The "To Hell & Back" singer then defended her criticism at the event. "Hence 'WE' should be outraged," she replied, before adding, "F**k this f**king year."
Maren eventually deleted the said tweet, but that didn't stop the backlash. Another slammed the "My Church" hitmaker, "Screw you @MarenMorris! How dare you even think about jumping to conclusions at a time like this. You've lost a fan in me." The Texas native had a cool response to it, writing back, "love you!" with a waving hand emoji.
Charley's death was announced by his family on Sunday. "It is with great sadness that we confirm that Charley Pride passed away this morning, Saturday, December 12, 2020, in Dallas, Texas of complications from COVID-19 at age 86," they posted on Facebook. "He was admitted to the hospital in late November with COVID-19 type symptoms and despite the incredible efforts, skill and care of his medical team over the past several weeks, he was unable to overcome the virus. Charley felt blessed to have such wonderful fans all over the world. And he would want his fans to take this virus very seriously."