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Willie Nelson’s sister and bandmate, Bobbie Nelson, has died. She was 91.
Bobbie, who was a pianist, singer, and member of the band Willie Nelson and Family, passed away on Thursday morning, “peacefully and surrounded by family.”
“Her elegance, grace, beauty, and talent made this world a better place. She was the first member of Willie’s band, as his pianist and singer. Our hearts are broken and we will miss her dearly. But we are very lucky to have had her in our lives. Please keep her family in your thoughts and give them the privacy they need at this time,” the Nelson family said in a statement shared with Fox News Digital.
Billie toured with her brother for more than five decades. She was an original member of the Willie Nelson and Family Band as a pianist and singer.
The family noted that Bobbie and Willie’s love of music came from their grandparents, who raised the brothers in Abbot, Texas.
“My grandfather had told me when I was learning to play the piano: You know, if you really work at this, you could make a living playing music one day,” Bobbie said earlier. “And I never forgot it.”
During their teenage years, the brother and sister bonded with Bud Fletcher, who would later become Billie’s husband. Fletcher was later killed in a car accident, forcing Bobbie to raise her three children as a single mother.
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Bobbie Nelson and Paul English of Willie Nelson And Family perform at the Classic Center on January 21, 2010, in Athens, Georgia.
At the time of her husband’s death, Bobbie left music to attend college in Fort Worth, Texas, which later led to her getting an office job. While working at the Hammond Organ Company, she Bobbie lent her office skills to work in the company’s music library. She also performed as a pianist in Austin and Nashville.
He previously called his return to music “a fabulous thing.”
“I was so happy to be able to sit down and play with my heart and soul,” he said.
He would join his brother Willie’s band in 1972 when he signed a contract with Atlantic Records. She not only joined him on stage but also appeared on his albums.
Willie Nelson (L) and his sister Bobbie Nelson perform in concert on New Year’s Eve at ACL Live on December 31, 2014 in Austin, Texas.
Nelson released his debut album, Audiobiography, in 2007. Two songs on the album featured Willie, now 88 years old.
He appeared on the album The Willie Nelson Family in 2021.
Bobbie Nelson performs in concert with Willie Nelson during The Luck Banquet on March 13, 2019, in Luck, Texas.
Willie and Bobbie also wrote two books together: the 2020 memoir “Me and Sister Bobbie: True Tales of The Family Band” and the 2021 children’s book “Sister, Brother, Family: An American Childhood in Music.”