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Maren Morris Remembers Late Producer Busbee as She Wins Album of the Year at the 2019 CMAs: 'We Miss Him So Dearly'

People logo People 11/14/2019 Brianne Tracy
Maren Morris wearing a purple shirt: Maren Morris Remembers Late Producer Busbee as She Wins Album of the Year at the 2019 CMA Awards © Provided by Meredith Corporation Maren Morris Remembers Late Producer Busbee as She Wins Album of the Year at the 2019 CMA Awards

Maren Morris had a bittersweet moment while accepting the album of the year award for her LP GIRL at the 2019 Country Music Association Awards.

During her speech, the singer — who is expecting her first child, a baby boy, with husband Ryan Hurd — first thanked her manager Janet Weir, her parents, producer Greg Kurstin and the “love of my life, Ryan” before remembering late music producer Busbee (né Michael James Ryan), who produced many of GIRL’s tracks before his death in September.

“I would be really remiss if I didn’t mention a huge facet of why this album sounds the way it does, and we miss him so dearly,” Morris, 29, said of Busbee. “He texted me the morning that we got the nomination for album of the year this year, and we were so excited — that’s our friend, Busbee.”

“His wife, Jess, is here tonight and she looks so beautiful,” Morris continued. “Thank you for sharing your husband with us once a month. My heart goes out you and your beautiful daughters. I hope when they listen to this album…I hope they know how amazing their father was. Thank you country music, thank you to the fans, thank you.”

Maren Morris standing on a stage: Maren Morris | Terry Wyatt/Getty © Terry Wyatt/Getty Maren Morris | Terry Wyatt/Getty

News of Busbee’s death broke on Sept. 29. Though a cause of death was not reported, a friend told Variety that Busbee was undergoing treatment for glioblastoma — an aggressive brain tumor that last year took the life of Sen. John McCain — after being diagnosed with it over the summer. Frequent collaborator Carly Pearce confirmed the diagnosis during a tribute at her show the same night.

Busbee — who was 43 years old at the time of his death — is survived by his wife Jessie and three children, including a newborn baby daughter.

Before GIRL, Busbee had penned tunes and produced songs including “Once,” “80s Mercedes” and “How It’s Done” for Morris’ 2016 album, Hero

a man standing in front of Maren Morris, busbee posing for the camera: Ryan Hurd, Maren Morris and Busbee © Provided by Meredith Corporation Ryan Hurd, Maren Morris and Busbee

Along with Morris, Busbee created a slew of hits for other artists like Keith UrbanCarrie UnderwoodBlake SheltonLady AntebellumFlorida Georgia LineGarth BrooksRascal FlattsLittle Big TownJason AldeanKellie Pickler and Hunter Hayes.

Related slideshow: 2019 Country Music Awards: Winners and highlights (Provided by Photo Services)

Outside of country, Busbee also worked with a number of pop artists like Christina AguileraGwen StefaniKelly ClarksonShakira, 5 Seconds of Summer, and the Backstreet Boys. He co-wrote “Try” for Pink in 2012, and it went to No. 1.

During the CMA Awards, Morris performed the title track from GIRL. Before the show, she said the performance would be extra special because her future son is a part of it.

“When he looks back performing at this particular awards show it’s going to be this thing where he was in there!” she told Entertainment Tonight on the red carpet before the show.

The 2019 CMA Awards aired live from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on Wednesday, Nov. 13, at 8 p.m. ET.

Related video: Maren Morris Gives Pregnancy Update at 2019 CMA Awards (Provided by E! Online)



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