Charlie Daniels was laid to rest on Friday, July 10, in Tennessee, and several of the country icon's friends performed in his honor during the funeral including Gretchen Wilson, who shared an emotional rendition of the gospel classic "I'll Fly Away." Before her performance, Wilson spoke to the crowd about Daniels, sharing that he was the first person to welcome her to Wilson County, Tennessee, and made her "feel at home" in the state.
"He's always been someone I can count on," she said. "I've called him on many occasions, just like Storme [Warren] when I needed help... he's been like a father to me. He was there to hand me my diploma when I received my GED, spoke at my graduation ceremony. He referred me to my financial advisors, he referred me to my medical team and he referred me to Jesus on many occasions and I thank him so much for that." Wilson performed "I'll Fly Away" backed by a single guitar player, delivering a poignant rendition of the classic song. Watch her performance at the 1:30:30 minute mark in the video above.
Along with Wilson, other performers at Daniels' funeral included Trace Adkins, who performed "Arlington," Vince Gill, who sand "Go Rest High on That Mountain" and "America the Beautiful," and Travis Tritt, who led the congregation in "Amazing Grace." Speakers included former U.S. Navy SEAL David Rutherford, tenured CDB roadie Roger Campbell, and Daniels' longtime manager David Corlew. The service was led by led by SiriusXM's Storme Warren and pastor Allen Jackson and was followed by a private burial at Mt. Juliet Memorial Gardens in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee.
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Daniels died on July 6 at age 83 at Summit Medical Center in Hermitage, Tennessee, from a hemorrhagic stroke. Later that day, Wilson remembered the musician with an Instagram post, sharing a photo of herself and Daniels on stage together, standing in front of a microphone as they both held a birthday cake. Clad in his signature cowboy hat, Daniels' face wasn't visible as he looked at Wilson, but her smile was a clear indicator of how much the moment meant to her. "I never met a better man than Charlie Daniels," Wilson captioned the image. "He was so inspiring in so many ways. May he Rest In Peace along side his Creator and continue to inspire!"