Big Tom at his last performance in the Abbey Hotel in Donegal town.
Daniel O’Donnell has led tributes to country music legend Big Tom McBride who passed away in the early hours of this morning aged 81.
His children announced the news via his Facebook page, writing: "It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our dear father Big Tom McBride (RIP) this morning. Dad passed away peacefully in the company of his family.”
The singer’s wife Rose passed away earlier this year.
Daniel O'Donnell said he was shocked to hear of the death.
Speaking on the RTÉ Radio One he said: “It is so sad, I am just speechless. On the other hand, he was probably heartbroken without his wife, Rose. Maybe for him, it's a gift from God. His family, I'm sure they are just devastated at his passing."
The Donegal singer said Big Tom was a connection to so many people that had left Ireland.
“He was the pillar, we all referred to him as the king. He reached out to people in Ireland and those people who had immigrated from Ireland in the days when so many people live in England and their whole connection with Ireland was the bands on the weekend in the national the forum and the Galtymore and all the dance around London, Manchester and Birmingham. He was such a connection.”