"[Blake Shelton] thank u for introducing me to this beautiful artist," Stefani wrote on Instagram, reposting Shelton's heartbreaking tribute, and adding the hashstags. [i love u so much [learning so much from you]. "RIP Earl Thomas Conley [angel in disguise]."
Shelton announced Conley's death on social media, mourning the loss of one of Shelton's biggest influences.
"My heart is absolutely destroyed today..." Shelton wrote. "I’m sad to report that Earl Thomas Conley passed away very early this morning. Earl was my all time favorite singer, hero and my friend. Prayers to his family. We will all miss you deeply my brother. Now go rest..."
Shelton credited Conley with giving him hope when he was trying to get his start in country music.
“I always loved Earl Thomas Conley, but it wasn’t until I was about 18 that I really started to appreciate what a great singer he was,” Shelton told PEOPLE. “He has a song called ‘What I’d Say’ that really takes me back. I’d listen to that thing a million times, just by myself in my studio apartment in Nashville, just trying to sing that. I wanted to sing like him, because I knew if I could, I maybe could make it one day.”
Shelton and Stefani aren't the only artists mourning Conley's death. Several other celebrities also spoke out about the loss of Conley.
"RIP Earl Thomas Conley...," wrote Chris Young. "Sad day for country music."
"An all time great," said Toby Keith. "Earl Thomas Conley passed away today. Huge influence on me. Loved him. Prayers to his family."
"Rest In Peace singing brother Earl Thomas Conley gone this morning at age 77 ... so very sad," said the Oak Ridge Boys.
"So sad to hear [Earl Thomas Conley] passed away today," John Rich said. "He was a huge influence on my style and songwriting. I studied his records like text books and could play every note of every song. Truly one of the all time greats in country music. [Rip Earl Thomas Conley]"
"When I first came to Nashville in the early '80s, I studied the great singers, songwriters and human hearts - one that topped the charts in all areas was Earl Thomas Conley," Randy Travis said in a statement. "He made a big difference in the songs I sang. Thank you for the lessons and the memories, my friend. God give you sweet repose 'til we meet again... 'just around the bend.'"0comments
Conley passed way on Wednesday, April 10. Funeral arrangements have yet to be announced.
Photo Credit: Getty Images/Gabe Ginsberg