As news of the death of Little Jimmy Dickens spread through Nashville on Friday (Jan. 2), the Grand Ole Opry took time to dedicate their weekly show to the iconic country entertainer and pay tribute to his legacy.

After learning of Dickens' passing on the afternoon of Jan. 2, Opry vice president and general manager, Pete Fisher, announced his death to a stunned audience and dedicated the show the elder statesman, calling him "one of the most legendary, entertaining and beloved artists in country music history."

Fisher's statement was reaffirmed by some of Dickens' close friends and fellow performers during the evening, including Marty Stuart, Ricky Skaggs and Bill Anderson, who all paid tribute to the 'Country Boy' singer throughout the show. And there were just as much laughter as there were tears - just the way that Dickens' would have wanted it.

"It just wouldn't be the Opry if there wasn't a Little Jimmy joke back there," said Skaggs after his performance, with Stuart adding that the legacy of the Country Music Hall of Famer is one that will live on with the best artists in country music. "He was the last remaining person that could reach back to Hank Williams and Roy Acuff," said Stuart. "He was our link to the heart, soul and the altar of country music."

Anderson, who found out about Dickens' death just hours before his performance, said that every time the singer took the Opry stage, he brought a history and caliber of musicianship not easily matched.

"The last time that he was on the stage, and the last time that he walked off over there into the wings, the audience was standing up," said Anderson, who introduced Little Jimmy at his last Opry appearance on Dec. 20. "I looked over to the side of the stage one time tonight when I was out there and almost expected to see him over there in his little blue rhinestone suit."

See Photos of Little Jimmy Dickens Through the Years