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Blake Shelton Heartbroken by Oak Ridge Boys' Joe Bonsall’s Death from ALS at 76

Blake Shelton Heartbroken by Oak Ridge Boys’ Joe Bonsall’s Death from ALS at 76

Blake Shelton is among the many country musicians mourning the loss of Joe Bonsall, a founding member of the country and gospel vocal quartet The Oak Ridge Boys. Bonsall passed away at the age of 76 on July 9 due to complications of ALS, a neurological disease he had been quietly battling for years. His death comes only days after the passing of Rusty Golden, the son of fellow Oak Ridge member William Lee Golden, at the age of 65.

His death was announced via a statement from his publicist on social media, which read: “Bonsall, of Hendersonville, Tennessee, passed on to Glory on July 9, 2024, from complications of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.”

The statement continued, “He leaves behind his precious wife, Mary Ann, daughters Jennifer and Sabrina, granddaughter Breanne, grandson Luke, two great grandsons, Chance and Grey, and a sister, Nancy. He is preceded in death by his parents, Joseph S. Bonsall Sr. and Lillie Bonsall.”

Blake Shelton, 48, who had performed with The Oak Ridge Boys in the past, took to Instagram with a photograph from one of their shows and shared a heartfelt tribute to his friend Bonsall. “I’m heartbroken to hear of my friend Joe Bonsall’s passing,” he wrote. “I’ve NEVER seen Joe when he wasn’t smiling and completely full of life.”

He continued, “He absolutely loved singing like no one I ever met. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and his @theoakridgeboys brothers. We all lost a special person today.”

The official statement announcing Bonsall’s passing added: “As a 50-year member of the American music group The Oak Ridge Boys, Joe was a member of the Grand Ole Opry and inducted into the Philadelphia Music Hall of Fame, the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, the Vocal Group Hall of Fame, and the prestigious Country Music Hall of Fame.”

The statement also highlighted his passions: “Joe loved to sing. He loved to read. He loved to write. He loved to play banjo. He loved working on the farm. And he loved the Philadelphia Phillies. But Jesus and his family always came first — and we will see him again on the Promised Day.”

At the request of Bonsall, there will not be a funeral. “In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The ALS Association or to the Vanderbilt Medical Center ALS and Neuroscience Research Center.” His family has requested privacy during this difficult time.

Bonsall, who was the tenor for the vocal group, had announced in January that he would be retiring from touring. He stated, “Many of you know I have been battling a slow onset (over four years now) of a neuromuscular disorder.” He added, “I am now at a point where walking is impossible, so I have basically retired from the road. It has just gotten too difficult. It has been a great 50 years, and I am thankful to all the Oak Ridge Boys, band, crew, and staff for the constant love and support shown to me through it all.”

Bonsall mentioned a new singer stepping in for him, “There is a young man named Ben James singing for me out there, and he needs your love and encouragement… his sound is different than mine, but he brings a ton of talent to the table! The Oak Ridge Boys will finish the Farewell Tour without me, but rest assured, I am good with all of it!”

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