Jesse McReynolds, a bluegrass pioneer and — for more than five decades — mandolin player for Jim & Jesse, died on Friday afternoon (June 23), weeks after falling ill.

His wife, Joy McReynolds, shared the news on her Facebook page. She'd been updating fans, friends and family there since earlier this year when — per Bluegrass Today — he had a heart scare that required a pacemaker. He'd been in assisted living for three months since until he returned home on June 4, but in recent days, he took a turn for the worse.

"Jesse passed peacefully with me at his bedside at 3:58 PM today," Joy shares.

The Grand Ole Opry also recognized his passing.

McReynolds had been a member of the Opry for nearly 60 years, making him one of the most senior members. He performed regularly until 2020, but he was spotted most often with his brother and duo partner, Jim McReynolds.

The two men released more than a dozen bluegrass albums between 1962 and 1982, and several before Jim's 2002 death after a cancer battle. They became members of the Bluegrass Hall of Fame in 1993 and enjoyed accolades with several other groups, including the IBMA.

Several days ago, Bluegrass Today reported McReynolds was ill and encouraged those who knew him to reach out via Joy's Facebook page. The website notes his importance to the genre and what his loss means.

"Thanks for all the music and memories, Jesse," the Opry tweets. "We love and miss you."

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