Of all of the accolades and remembrances that have poured in about George Jones since the singer's passing on (April 26), none is more unexpected -- or genuinely touching -- than that of Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards.

In a statement to Rolling Stone, the musician praised Jones as "pure American music."

Though the Stones are known primarily for their R&B-drenched rock, the group has essayed country many times in their career. Richards was a fan who became a collaborator and friend after he participated in Jones' 1994 album 'The Bradley Barn Sessions,' according to ABC News Radio. The Tennessean newspaper in Nashville reported last week that Richards had recently confirmed his participation in Jones' farewell concert, which was scheduled to take place at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena in November.

Here's the full text of Richards' statement:

George Jones has left us. We have lost one of the most individual singers of all time. I cannot express the emptiness I feel.

George was as country as it can get, but he was beyond any bag you want to put him in. He was pure American music without ever waving a flag – you can hear a million imitations on the radio every day – but there was, and ever will be, only one George Jones.

He possessed the most touching voice, the most expressive ways of projecting that beautiful instrument of anyone I can call to mind. You heard his heart in every note he sang. Sinatra called him the second best singer ever. (The number one obviously being Frank!). I would contest that.

I truly loved 'the possum.' He was a crazy as me, and just as free… and, oh boy, could he hang.