Willie Nelson guitarist Jody Payne died on Saturday due to cardiac complications. Payne, who had a history of cardiac issues, woke up that morning feeling ill. The 77-year-old musician was then taken to the hospital.
The guitarist learned his country and bluegrass skills from legends Merle Travis and Charlie Monroe. He recorded at Motown Records and played with Ray Price and Merle Haggard, and later on, he joined up with Nelson from 1973 to 2008.
“We created musical history,” Payne told the Mobile Press-Register in 2011. “It wasn’t me; it was us. I was just a small part of something people wanted to hear, and we entertained them.”
Payne retired in Alabama, and he spent his retirement playing and teaching guitar at a local music store up until the time of his death. “Sad to report that Jody Payne passes away,” said a post on Nelson’s Facebook page. “Seriously getting the band back together in heaven now. Jody Payne with Bee Spears and Poodie.”