It was a tragic accident that left country music fans and artists devastated. Troy Gentry, one half of the famous country music duo Montgomery Gentry, lost his life in a helicopter crash on September 8th.
The band took to social media to announce the passing of the 50-year-old country star. In a Twitter post, they said: “It is with great sadness that we confirm that Troy Gentry, half of the popular country duo, Montgomery Gentry, was tragically killed in a helicopter crash which took place at approximately 1:00PM today in Medford, New Jersey…”
The duo was scheduled to perform that night at the Flying W Airport & Resort in Medford. Full details of the incident have not been released, though it is believed that the aircraft was experiencing mechanical problems that led to the crash.
Authorities are currently investigating the fatal incident, and the pilot’s decision to hover and wait for emergency assistance has been called into question. While landing may have been the better option in hindsight, veteran helicopter pilots have noted that with mechanical damage to deal with, the pilot (who also died in the crash) didn’t have any great options.
Low-flying helicopters are known for being extremely vulnerable in the air, especially when they’re experiencing mechanical problems. This means that a hard landing can sometimes be safer. However, due to the risk of mechanical problems causing fires, pilots usually prefer to wait until the ground is covered with protective foam before attempting a landing.
Gentry did guitar and vocals alongside musical partner Eddie Montgomery, and the two had been performing since the 90s. Though Gentry won a talent contest in 1994, he reunited with Montgomery and the two formed their now-iconic duo in 1999.
Unlike some country duos, the two were not put together by record labels or executives. They had been long-time friends and worked together before, which helped produce a natural chemistry that came out in their music.
Montgomery Gentry brought a hard-hitting sound with elements of Southern rock, highlighted by the duo’s harmonies. The duo’s discography has more than 20 hits, including Roll with Me, Back When I Knew It All, and If You Ever Stop Loving Me.
The duo had a number-three hit with their song Gone, and they were named Duo of the Year in 2000 by both the American Music Awards and the Country Music Awards. The duo was constantly nominated for the award throughout the years, and was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 2009.
Gentry was known for being a friendly and enthusiastic individual who by all accounts brought that same excitement to the stage. His bandmates and friends said he loved life, and knew how to make every show feel special. He often played a Gibson Les Paul guitar on stage, and was also a fan of the outdoors.
Troy and his wife Angie Gentry married in 1999. He had two children, Kaylee and Taylor. Fans and artists alike continue to express their condolences to Gentry’s family, and the accident is still under investigation.