The crash happened near the site of the concert in Medford, NJ. (Source: NBC Philadelphia)
Montgomery Gentry performs in a 2013 concert in Pennsylvania. (AP File Photo)
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -
Country music star Troy Gentry, one half of duo Montgomery Gentry, has died in a helicopter crash in New Jersey. He was 50 years old.
The crash happened around 1 p.m. on Friday. Gentry was the passenger of a two-seater helicopter that crashed just off runway one at the Flying W Airport outside of Medford, NJ.
Singing partner Eddie Montgomery and the band were all near the crash site because they were set to play a concert there on Friday night. That concert has since been canceled.
News 4 broke the news to many country music fans in downtown Nashville Friday.
“I am shocked. I am shocked. What can I say?” said Claudette Dewitt.
"It's tragic. It’s hard to believe. It really is," said Richard Prather.
Montgomery Gentry broke out of the bars around Lexington, KY, and into the country music world. They were named duo of the year in 2000 by both the Academy of Country Music and the Country Music Association.
Songs like “My Town” and “Hillbilly Shoes” put the duo on the road, where they were still playing 17 years later.
Country music journalist Michael McCall said fans loved their energy on stage and contrasting personalities.
"They had this kind of cop show duo, you know, where they are a little bit different, but also play off each other really well," McCall said.
Fans say while Gentry's life ended way too soon, his impact on country music will not.
“Montgomery Gentry has certainly left a mark in music, so his legend will continue like many here," said Shelley Snook.
Troy Lee Gentry passed away Sept. 8, 2017 in Medford, N.J., at the age of 50. He was born April 5, 1967 in Lexington, Ky.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Lloyd and Patricia Gentry, and his brother, Keith Gentry.
A loving father and devoted husband, Gentry is survived by his wife, Angie Gentry (nee McClure), as well as his daughters, Taylor and Kaylee.
He was a graduate of Lexington Community College and he attended the University of Kentucky.
Gentry was best known as a member of the award-winning country duo Montgomery Gentry, along with his longtime friend Eddie Montgomery. The pair began performing together in their home state of Kentucky and released their debut album, 'Tattoos & Scars,' in 1999. The duo, whose trademark sound combined Southern Rock and Country, scored a string of No. 1 hits, including 'If You Ever Stop Loving Me,' 'Something to Be Proud Of,' 'Lucky Man,' 'Back When I Knew It All' and 'Roll With Me.' They achieved Platinum certification on three of their albums and Gold certification on three others.
In 2009 the duo became members of the venerable Grand Ole Opry, which was Gentry’s proudest professional achievement.
The band was planning to release an album of new music in 2018 to mark their 20th anniversary as a duo.
A generous man, Gentry supported numerous charitable organizations including Make A Wish Foundation and T.J. Martell Foundation as well as military-related charities such as The USO. He was an active supporter of breast cancer awareness and research. Montgomery Gentry was honored with the Academy of Country Music’s Humanitarian Award in 2009.
Known for his wide smile, Gentry was personally driven by faith, family and living life to the fullest. He was happiest on the water with his family. He enjoyed both wake boarding and snow skiing. Gentry was also an active supporter of various athletic teams at his daughter Kaylee’s school.
A follower of Christ, Gentry faithfully attended Brentwood Baptist Church in Brentwood, Tenn., when he was not on the road. One of his favorite bible verses was Deuteronomy 31:6, which says, 'Be strong and courageous; don’t be terrified or afraid of them. For it is the Lord your God who goes with you; He will not leave you or forsake you.'
A public celebration of life has been planned for 11 a.m. Thursday at the Grand Ole Opry House at Opryland. A private internment ceremony for family will follow.
In lieu of flowers, his family is asking for donations to be made to the T.J. Martell Foundation or the American Red Cross for hurricane relief.