Kane Brown was honored at the CMT Artists of the Year ceremony, marking his first appearance since the loss of his drummer and longtime friend, Kenny Dixon, who recently passed away in a car accident. Brown was understandably full of emotion as he took the stage to honor his late friend.
"I wanna dedicate this to my drummer Kenny," Brown began, in tears. "He started with me coming out of Chattanooga off of Facebook. People didn't think we would make it. He was with me the whole time. He was so supportive to me.
"I love you and I miss you. The band misses you," he continued, holding his award up in the air. "I wanna thank my management and CMT. You've all been so good to me, since I've been here. Thank you all so much for this award. My fans, everybody that's helped me get to where I'm at. Love to everybody. Country music, all the people I talk to, and I don't talk to, just know that I love you guys. I love the country community. God bless you guys."
Chris Young, who took Brown out with him on his 2018 Losing Sleep World Tour, remains one of Brown's good friends. Young presented Brown with the CMT trophy, and sang his song, "Drowning," in memory of Dixon.
Thomas Rhett, who was also honored as one of the CMT Artists of the Year, used his time on stage to pray for Brown, as he mourns the sudden loss.
"I just wanna lift up Kane and his family. I don't know if this is really conventional, but can I just pray really fast? Is that okay with everybody?" Rhett said, before launching into a prayer asking God to help Brown and those who knew Dixon in their grief.
Brown spent most of the year on the road with Jason Aldean, on Aldean's Ride All Night Tour. Dixon was killed on Oct. 12, one day after the tour ended. He leaves behind a fiancée and a 3-year-old son.
In the wake of the death, Brown postponed his sold-out Staples Center show in Los Angeles, originally scheduled for Friday, Oct. 18. That show will now be played on Jan. 9.0comments
Other artists honored during the ceremony include Carrie Underwood, Luke Combs and Dan + Shay. Ashley McBryde received the Breakout Artist of the Year trophy, while Reba McEntire was given the Artist of a Lifetime honor.
Photo Credit: Getty / Jason Kempin