Rusty Golden, country singer and son of The Oak Ridge Boys’ William Lee Golden, dies at 65

"This is the hardest thing ever for a father to have to face," William said in a statement. "I love my family more than anything."

William "Rusty” Golden, the country singer-songwriter and son of The Oak Ridge Boys member William Lee Golden, has died. He was 65.

News of his death was announced in a statement from the Golden family, shared on social media. “It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved @rusty.golden last night,” read a post to a joint Instagram page. “We thank you all for your love and support of Rusty over the years. We kindly ask for privacy for the Golden family during this difficult time.”

<p>Beth Gwinn/Getty</p> Rusty Golden, William Lee Golden

Beth Gwinn/Getty

Rusty Golden, William Lee Golden

In a statement shared with Entertainment Weekly, his father William Lee, 85, addressed the tragic loss, writing, “This is the hardest thing ever for a father to have to face. 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.”

Related: Celebrity deaths 2024: Remembering the stars we've lost this year

Born the eldest son of William and Frogene Golden on Jan. 3, 1959 in Brewton, Ala., he was given the name William Lee Golden Jr. at birth but soon earned the lifelong nickname, Rusty. By age 13, Rusty was playing drums for the band The Rambos, featuring songwriter Dottie Rambo. By 17, he had learned the piano as well and began touring with Larry Gatlin as a keyboard player.

In the ‘80s, Rusty co-founded country-rock group The Boys Band, which released their self-titled debut album in 1982, featuring the single, "Don’t Stop Me Baby (I’m on Fire),” which entered the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The group disbanded two years later, the same year Rusty earned a certified gold record for his songwriting contributions Oak Ridge Boys’ Bobbie Sue album.

<p>Beth Gwinn/Getty</p> Rusty Golden

Beth Gwinn/Getty

Rusty Golden

From there, Rusty collaborated with Marc Speer, of the The Speer Family. Together, they would launch Golden Speer, which included Rusty's brother Chris on lead vocals. Rusty and Chris would eventually begin recording as a duo, The Goldens, and released such hits as "Put Us Together Again" and "Sorry Girls." Their critically acclaimed 1990 album, Rush for Gold, produced three charting singles: "Take Me Back to the Country," "Keep the Faith," and "Long Gone."

In 2020, the brothers joined forces with their father for the family band, William Lee Golden and the Goldens. Joined by brother Craig, nieces Elizabeth and Rebekah and nephew Elijah, they created a family band spanning three generations. They released a trio of projects: Country Roads: Vintage Country Classics, Old Country Church Gospel and Southern Accents: Pop & Country Rock.

Rusty is survived by his father, brothers Craig Golden, Chris Golden and Solomon Golden, along with many nieces, nephews and extended family members.

Read the original article on Entertainment Weekly.