George Strait's longtime drummer Mike Kennedy was killed on Friday in a car accident on a highway outside Lebanon, Tennessee. He was 59. Straits Rep confirmed Kennedy's death to Rolling Stone .
After the Tennessee Highway Patrol, the SUV driven by Kennedy hit a tractor-trailer as the two vehicles merged into another lane; the semi-trailer then drove into another vehicle. Kennedy did not wear a seat belt at the time of the accident, [Tennessee] reported but it would be unlikely that a seatbelt would have saved his life. No one was injured in the crash.
Kennedy served as drummer for the Straits for almost 30 years. He first appeared in 1992 on the King of Country album Holding My Own before joining Strait as a drummer member of the famous Ace in the Hole backing band. Kennedy was also credited with working with Jamey Johnson, Ricky Skaggs and Freddie King.
Strait's tour manager Paul Rogers tweeted after the news of Kennedy's death: "The heartbeat of our band is gone, I'm not sure how we'll get back on stage without it, but we have to. Love and respect, my dear friend Mike Kennedy. "
George Strait, who has not been touring since 2014, will perform in Las Vegas on December 7th.