George Strait‘s father has died. John Byron Strait was living in Pearsall, Texas, the singer’s hometown, but had spent the last month in the hospital before he passed away Tuesday morning (June 4).
The sad news comes just days after the country icon finished his final 2013 tour date in San Antonio, ending the first of two legs on the Cowboy Rides Away Tour.
John Byron Strait raised George and his brother after their mother left the family with his sister when the boys were young. The elder Strait was a junior high math teacher and a farmer, and the three remained very close even while George left to serve in the Army and began touring as a successful country musician. Together they formed the George Strait Team Roping Classic. George’s brother, John Byron “Buddy” Strait Jr., died in 2009 at the age of 58.
Growing up, George Strait wasn’t immersed in country music. That experience wouldn’t come until later, as John Byron Strait listened to mostly news and farm reports on a daily basis.
“We are grateful for the time over the last few weeks we were able to spend with Daddy before he passed away,” the singer said in a statement. “I want to thank everyone for their prayers and support during this difficult time as we mourn our family’s loss.”
Details on Strait’s dad’s cause of death weren’t made available. KABB in San Antonio, Texas reports that funeral services are on Thursday (June 6), but a representative for Strait says the service is for friends and family only. Donations to the Jenifer Strait Memorial Foundation are requested in lieu of gifts.
John Byron Strait was 91 years old. He’s survived by his wife Anna, two children and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.