The Oak Ridge Boys Singer William Lee Golden's Son Dead: Rusty Golden Was 65

Rusty Golden co-wrote songs for The Oak Ridge Boys while also singing in a group with his father, William Lee Golden.

The Oak Ridge Boys singer William Lee Golden has shared the sad news that his son Rusty Golden has died. He was 65. In a press release, reps for the legendary country music group shared that Rusty passed away at his home in Hendersonville, Tennessee on Monday, July 1.

"This is the hardest thing ever for a father to have to face," Golden said in a mournful statement. "I love my family more than anything. Rusty was a great musician, a talented songwriter, and a wonderful son. We appreciate your thoughts and prayers for the days ahead. I love you, son."

rusty-golden-william-lee-golden.jpg
(Photo: Beth Gwinn/Getty Images)

Rusty Golden was the eldest son of William and Frogene Golden. He was born on Jan. 3, 1959, in Brewton, Alabama. His birth name was William Lee Golden, Jr., after his father, but the family began calling him "Rusty" shortly after his birth. He grew up learning to play various musical instruments and played professionally with gospel and country artists such as The Rambos and Larry Gatlin.

In his 20s, Rusty started The Boys Band while slowly growing into a prolific songwriter, contributing to songs by The Oak Ridge Boys and Barry White, among others. He also helped to found to family bands: Golden Speer — who eventually became The Goldens — William Lee Golden and The Goldens.

"In addition to his lengthy list of accolades as a songwriter and musician, Rusty Golden will be remembered as a charismatic entertainer, who could hold an audience in the palm of his hand with his energetic live performances," the press release adds. "Throughout his life, he always had a tremendous connection with audiences whether he was on the Opry stage or in recent years performing regular gigs in Bahrain, where he earned a reputation as a riveting performer whose talents transcended any borders.

"But most of all, Rusty will be remembered as one of those Nashville cats everyone wanted to play music with, co-write a song, or just hang out," the press release continues. "Rusty could always be counted on to elevate any experience with his talent, wit, and charm."

Rusty Golden is preceded in death by his mother Frogene Normand, grandparents Luke & Rutha Mae Golden, and Elliot & Estelle Normand. He is survived by his father William Lee Golden (Simone), and brothers Craig Golden, Chris Golden (Marie), and Solomon Golden, along with many nieces, nephews, other extended family members, close friends, and fans.

Funeral/memorial details are pending and will be made available at williamleegoldenandthegoldens.com and their Facebook page: facebook.com/WLGandTheGoldens.