Colt Ford has reacted to the death of his friend and colleague Troy Gentry, who was killed in a helicopter accident on Friday (Sept. 8).

"I am heartbroken at the loss of Troy," the country rapper says in a statement via his record label, Average Joes Entertainment. "He was truly a gifted artist and fine human being, and I’m proud I could call him my friend. His impact on country music will not be forgotten."

Ford is a co-founder of Average Joes and its flagship artist. Montgomery Gentry signed with Average Joes and released Rebels on the Run in 2011, scoring a hit with “Where I Come From.” A digital EP titled Friends and Family followed in 2012 before the duo moved to Blaster Records for Folks Like Us in 2015. In 2016 Montgomery Gentry left Blaster Records and returned to Average Joes. They completed recordings for a new album for the label prior to Gentry's death.

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"I, along with everyone here at Average Joes, am devastated by the news of Troy’s passing," adds Average Joes Entertainment CEO/President, Shannon Houchins. "Personally, there are no words to express the sadness I feel for Troy’s family and for Eddie Montgomery. Troy was an exceptional talent, an exceptional person and a good friend. We will all miss him greatly."

Montgomery Gentry scored 20 hit singles on Billboard‘s Hot Country Songs charts in the '90s and 2000s, reaching No. 1 with “If You Ever Stop Loving Me,” “Something to Be Proud Of,” “Lucky Man,” “Back When I Knew It All” and “Roll With Me.” They took home Duo of the Year honors at both the CMA Awards and the ACM Awards in 2000, and they were inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 2009.

Gentry died at the age of 50 when the helicopter he was riding in crashed near the Flying W Airport in Medford, N.J. Montgomery Gentry were scheduled to perform in concert there that evening. Both Gentry and the pilot were killed in the crash, which is under investigation. 911 audio that's become public shows that Gentry’s helicopter was under distress for several minutes before crashing.

Funeral arrangements for Troy Gentry are pending.

Many country stars turned to social media to express their shock and sadness at Gentry's tragic loss.

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