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Bluegrass legend, member of 'Rocky Top' singing Osborne Brothers, Bobby Osborne dies

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Posted at 1:31 PM, Jun 27, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-27 13:31:10-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Bluegrass musician Bobby Osborne has died, according to family members.

The Leslie County native is best known as co-founder of the Osborne Brothers for more than 50 years. One of their hits, "Rocky Top," is regularly played by the University of Tennessee Volunteers marching band and was adopted as a state song for Tennessee in 1982.

Bobby's brother and co-founder of the Osborne Brothers, Sonny, retired from performing in 2005 and died in 2021 at his home in Hendersonville, Tennessee.

Osborne has been a Grand Ole Opry member since 1964 and is a member of the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame. He also taught at Hazard Community and Technical College for several years as part of their Kentucky School of Bluegrass and Traditional Music program.

In January, Osborne was honored by Governor Andy Beshear as one of the nine recipients of the Governor’s Awards in the Arts, in recognition of his dedication to sharing Kentucky's rich arts history worldwide. The Kentucky Arts Council solicits nominations and coordinates award presentations on behalf of the Governor. Osborne received the national award.

Osborne was 91 when he died.

"We are deeply saddened to learn about Bobby’s death," said HCTC President Dr. Jennifer Lindon. "He was a pioneer in the Bluegrass music industry and a champion for Eastern Kentucky. "We are keeping Bobby's family in our prayers and ask that all Kentuckians join us in remembering the legacy he leaves our mountains."