Eddie Montgomery Opens Up About Troy Gentry's Death: "My World Changed"

Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry -Stoney's Rockin Country on November 4, 2016 - Getty-H 2017
Mindy Small/FilmMagic

“It’s going to be in my mind and my soul for the rest of my life,” he said of his late singing partner.

Eddie Montgomery of the country duo Montgomery Gentry recently spoke to People about the death of his partner, Troy Gentry, who died Sept. 8 in a preshow helicopter crash in Medford, New Jersey, at age 50.

“It was a horrific day, my world changed as much as the band did,” Montgomery said. "It’s something that you never get over. It’s going to be in my mind and my soul for the rest of my life.”

Montgomery, 54, said that years ago, he and Gentry decided if the other died first, they would still soldier onward with Montgomery Gentry for the sake of their legacy and their fans. “We said to each other, ‘Hey, we want Montgomery Gentry to keep going,’” Montgomery told the magazine. Still, he didn’t expect this fate. “It’s weird, I always thought it was going to be me that went down first.”

Montgomery Gentry have released eight studio albums since 1999, three of which — 1999’s Tattoos & Scars, 2002’s My Town and 2004’s You Do Your Thing — went platinum. But the Kentucky-bred duo met almost a decade before that, forming Early Tymz in 1990 with Montgomery’s younger brother, John Michael Montgomery (who also went on to enjoy a successful solo career).

“Me and T, we’ve known each other longer than we’ve known our wives,” he said of Gentry. “Nashville didn’t put this duo together, we did. We were friends before we were ever in the music business.” The partnership progressed hugely from Montgomery’s first impression of his bandmate: “I thought he was a pretty boy and he could sing.”

Last month, Billboard premiered the video for Montgomery Gentry’s song “Better Me,” the first single off their upcoming album Here’s to You, which is set to come out in February. “Troy never sounded better,” Montgomery told Billboard of his partner’s performance on the record. “This video is like a walk down memory lane for me and T-Roy over the years. So many great memories. I am glad to share this with our friends."

This story first appeared on Billboard.com.