Brad Paisley made a surprise appearance on the Grand Ole Opry on Saturday night (Jan. 2) to pay tribute to his friend and mentor, Little Jimmy Dickens, on the one-year anniversary of his death.

Dickens was the longest-serving member of the Opry until his death from cardiac arrest on Jan. 2, 2015 at the age of 94. The country icon had battled cancer in the last year of his life, but made his final appearance at the Opry — where he had been a member since 1948 — on Dec. 20, 2014, just weeks before he died. He sang "Out Behind the Barn" and delivered his trademark comedy routines, which had made him one of the most beloved members of the Opry for decades.

Paisley shared stories about his close friend from the stage on Saturday night, including a story about the first time he and Dickens went fishing together. He wrapped up the evening with a medley of Dickens' hits, including "Country Boy," "Out Behind the Barn," "May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose" and "Mountain Dew," among others.

The country star remembered the man he called "my hero" on Twitter the day he passed away, lauding his longevity, faith, humor, charm and love.

"Much will be said and written about his incredible and unique place in Country Music history. Which could fill a book. But that isn’t how I’ll remember him. I will remember the human being that best check-marked all the boxes of a complete and wonderful life. My hero," Paisley shared.

"Do not mourn Little Jim. Celebrate him. Relive and share the memories. Aspire to be like him. And above all, laugh at the punchlines, the craziness, and the way he so gracefully made this planet a funnier, better, richer place while he was alive. And in doing so, will continue to for years to come."

See Pictures of Little Jimmy Dickens Through the Years

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