Country music star Big Tom has been praised as a ‘legend’ following the sad news that he has passed away.
The ‘Country Roads’ singer was a frequent visitor to the north west, and last August performed at the Millennium Forum in Derry during a special tribute night to him as part of TG4’s Opry Dhoire concerts, alongside other musical favourites from across the country including Susan McCann and Dickie Rock.
The County Monaghan singer, who passed away at the age of 81 on Tuesday, had a remarkable career spanning five decades.
Among those who paid tribute to him were Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Donegal’s Daniel O’Donnell.
The Taoiseach Tweeted: “Very sad to hear of death of Big Tom. A giant of Irish country music for over 50 years, filling dance halls everywhere. Our sympathies and condolences to his family, friends and fans.”
Meanwhile Daniel wrote on Facebook: “So sad to hear of Big Tom’s passing. The memories that he has left us will never fade. My deepest sympathies to all his family. Today I am sure he is reunited with Rose. May his gentle soul rest in peace.”
The Diocesan Administrator of the Diocese of Clogher where Tom came from, Monsignor Joseph McGuinness, meanwhile said: “Like many people around the country, we have all learned with great sadness of the death of Big Tom. The word ‘legend’ is often overused on occasions like this, but in Tom’s case it is truly fitting and well deserved.
“During his life, Tom brought great joy to many people, both in Ireland and worldwide, through his singing and his music. His contribution to Irish social and cultural life in this area has been enormous.
“But Tom McBride was more than just a singer. Above all, he was a family man. Tom, and his late wife Rose, formed a strong team in their household and in the wider community. Tom was a pivotal member of the community in his native Oram, where he contributed greatly through farming and sport.”
There will be an opportunity for fans and friends of Big Tom to pay their respects between 12.00pm and 8.00pm, tomorrow, Wednesday, in Oram Community Centre in the Parish of Castleblayney, Co Monaghan, where his remains will be lying in repose.
Big Tom’s house is strictly private.
The removal of the remains will take place on Friday morning and Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11.00am in Saint Patrick’s Church, Oram. The remains of Big Tom McBride will be buried after Mass in the adjoining cemetery.