Daniel O'Donnell leads tributes to Big Tom

Daniel O'Donnell leads tributes to Big Tom

Country music singer "Big Tom" has died at the age of 81.

Tom McBride was from nearby Oram, outside Castleblayney, Co Monaghan but had performed several times in this area down through a career which spanned six decades.

"He will be sadly missed by all who knew him. May he rest in peace", the statement continued.

Tom McBride's wife Rose passed away in January. His family, I'm sure they are just devastated at his passing.

"He was from the era of the huge country music stars in Ireland, he was the pillar, we all referred to him as the king".

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Taoiseach Leo Varadkar extended his condolences saying "Not many people are known by their first name, but that was Big Tom". It's just so sad.

Local, tributes were paid by Cavan-Monaghan Fianna Fail TD Niamh Smyth, who described Big Tom as an Irish "music legend and a true gentleman". His songs were a reflection of Irish life and an important connection for the Irish diaspora. "He reached out to people in Ireland and those people who had emigrated from Ireland". "He was the first to break into the main stream music business and appeared on many United Kingdom music shows before any other Irish country music stars".

Speaking about this year's Country Music special Tubridy said: "This is the third year of our Country Specials and it has really established itself as one of the audience's favourite Late Late Shows". During his life, Tom brought great joy to many people, both in Ireland and worldwide, through his singing and his music.

Philomena Begley spoke of how he'd light up a room.