Fianna Fáil TD for Roscommon-Galway and former country music radio presenter Eugene Murphy has expressed his great sadness at the passing of the all-time great country music star Big Tom McBride.

“It was with shock and sadness I learned today that one of the greatest Irish country music stars Big Tom McBride had passed away. In my many years as a radio presenter with Shannonside Northern Sound, I had the great privilege of getting to know Tom”, said Deputy Murphy.

“When first introduced to Tom more than 20 years ago we became great friends and he would regularly call me to chat about my Sunday morning show and the new talent that I introduced there. His music brought so much joy to so many and his distinctive voice will never be replicated. He was a trail blazer in his time, travelling the length and breadth of Ireland and the UK, entertaining the huge crowds that he and his band The Mainliners drew to every venue that they played.

“Tom paved the way for many of the country music stars that came after him, having broken new ground by bringing country music into the mainstream.

“Tom was a great patron of many charities and quietly worked behind the scenes for causes close to his heart. He never courted attention or recognition for his charity work, he was an ordinary man who never forgot his roots or realised his super star status.

“I am sure I speak for the nation when I say we have lost one of the all-time great country music stars who was also a genuine man who loved his family and fans. I want to extend my sincere condolences to his children and grandchildren.  May he rest in peace.”