Country music star Philomena Begley said goodbye to ‘old friend’ and music legend Gene Stuart in the best way possible.
The ‘Queen of country’ gave a heart-felt rendition of touching song The Way Old Friends Do.
Surrounded by mourners and accompanied by a traditional band, there were moving scenes as all those around her joined in with the song at St Patrick’s, Aughnagar.
Gene was later laid to rest as guitars and fiddles sounded, following his Requiem Mass on Sunday [Feb 14].
Radio host Hugo Duncan and musicians Pat Casey, John O’Neill, Plunkett McGartland, John Morrison were also there to pay their respects.
The 72-year-old passed away on Thursday after a long illness, leaving music fans and the communities of Killeeshil and Dungannon communities in mourning.
Having launched twenty albums, one recorded in Nashville, many singles including an Irish top ten hit, and four videos, Gene still enjoyed the spotlight right up to when he first became ill last year.
The father of three - a former photographer with the Dungannon Observer - was well-known across Ireland and England, having sung with his band The Homesteaders.
In spite of his fame and iconic status within the country music scene, Gene was a respected member of Killeeshil parish, saying readings at Sunday Mass in Aughnagar chapel and tirelessly fundraising for his community through annual musical shows.