Fans and friends of a popular Valley country band are mourning the loss of Kevin Willard

Fresno, Calif. (KFSN) -- Kevin Willard-the man behind the voice is the man Jody Jo-- radio d j at 93.7 Kiss Country knew well.

"Kevin Willard--Kevin Blake Willard and the Cadillac Cowboys," said Jody Jo.

That is the band Willard was part of for more than 20 years. But Jody Jo says he was not just a popular local single. He was a close friend --someone she met in the early 90s.

"He actually introduced me to my ex-husband. Without him-- no kids, no family, my life would be different," said Jo.

Tragically Willard -- a husband and father of three -- died in a car accident Tuesday morning. The California Highway Patrol says he was on Grangeville Boulevard east of Second Avenue --when he crashed head on into a big rig while trying to pass slower traffic.

When Jody heard the news, her heart stopped.

"It didn't feel real. I didn't really cry about it and I'm a very emotional person until I got into my car later. There is going to be a huge hole in the local country music industry in town now without him," said Jo.

That hole will be felt this Saturday at the Coarsegold Stampede PRCA Rodeo. Willard was scheduled to perform on this stage with his band for the second annual event.

Tanner Tweed is one of the organizers of the event. He says everyone in the rodeo community is heartbroken.

"For a good guy and a father a nice decent person to lose his life it just doesn't make sense it's hard to comprehend," said Tanner Tweed, Coarsegold Rodeo Grounds.

Especially for his kids--Jody had a message for them because she knows what it is like to lose a father unexpectedly.

"You have a lot of support, you have a lot of people praying for you, and holding and if they ever doubt that just watch the social media and go to Kevin's page on Facebook and you'll see how many people loved him-- but he loved you," said Tweed.
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