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Chris Stapleton not only lost a musical hero last week when Tom Petty passed away. He lost a friend as well.

This summer, Chris performed three shows with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in Chicago and Milwaukee. There was a mutual respect growing between the two artists. It’s evident in Chris’s recollection of their final conversation. Chris shared his memories of that exchange during a recent concert in Illinois.

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Chris told the crowd, “Last thing he said to me was, ‘I hope we get the opportunity to do this again,’ and I left there thinking that we might. I sure am sad we’re not going to get to.” Tom died Oct. 2 from a heart attack.


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Though he’s having a hard time believing Tom is really gone, Chris is committed to keeping his hero’s musical memory alive. After that spoken word tribute, Chris launched into a commanding solo cover performance of Tom’s 1991 hit, “Learning to Fly.”

It’s sure to bring up so many emotions as you watch it.

Hunter Kelly is a senior correspondent for Rare Country. Follow him on Twitter @Hunterkelly.
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