Oak Ridge Boys singer William Lee Golden is mourning the death of his son, William "Rusty" Golden. According to a press release, the Country Music Hall of Famer's son died on Monday (July 1) at the age of 65 at his home in the Nashville suburb of Hendersonville, Tenn.

“This is the hardest thing ever for a father to have to face," the elder Golden says in a statement. "I love my family more than anything. Rusty was a great musician, a talented songwriter, and a wonderful son. We appreciate your thoughts and prayers for the days ahead. I love you, son.”

Born Jan. 3, 1959, in Brewton, Ala., as the eldest son of William and Frogene Golden, Rusty Golden's birth name was William Lee Golden, Jr., but his family began calling him Rusty not long after he was born.

Growing up in a musical family, Golden took up the drums early on, beginning to play professionally with the Rambos by age 13.

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He moved over to keys after seeing Elton John in concert in 1972 and began playing keyboards with Larry Gatlin at age 17. He also performed on a number of Nashville sessions, including Gatlin’s “Love Is Just a Game,” Marty Stuart’s “Pilgrim” and many more.

Other projects he was involved in include the Boys Band, Golden Speer and the Goldens, and he also earned a gold record for his songwriting contributions to the Oak Ridge Boys' 1982 album Bobbie Sue, as well as for his work with Barry White.

Later in life, after undergoing a quadruple bypass, Golden devoted his efforts to gospel music, scoring several No. 1 Southern Gospel songs and earning two Song of the Year awards for “What Salvation’s Done for Me” by the Booth Brothers, and “I Want to Thank You” by Karen Peck & New River.

In 2020, Golden joined his famous father and his brother Chris in a new band called William Lee Golden and the Goldens, along with brother Craig, nieces Elizabeth and Rebekah and nephew Elijah.

Rusty Golden was preceded in death by his mother, Frogene Normand; grandparents Luke and Rutha Mae Golden; and Elliot and Estelle Normand. He is survived by his father William Lee Golden (Simone); brothers Craig Golden, Chris Golden (Marie) and Solomon Golden; and many nieces, nephews and extended family members.

Funeral plans are pending.

Sterling Whitaker is a Senior Writer and Senior Editor for Taste of Country. He focuses on celebrity real estate, as well as coverage of Yellowstone and related shows like 1883 and 1923. He's interviewed cast members including Cole Hauser, Kelly Reilly, Sam Elliott and Harrison Ford, and Whitaker is also known for his in-depth interviews with country legends including Don Henley, Rodney Crowell, Trace Adkins, Ronnie Milsap, Ricky Skaggs and more.

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Gallery Credit: Carena Liptak

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