Kenny Chesney Mourns the Loss of a ‘Sweet Friend’ After Helicopter Crash

Kenny Chesney is mourning the loss of a dear friend following a tragic helicopter crash on the island of St….


Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

February 15, 2021


6:36 pm

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Kenny Chesney is mourning the loss of a dear friend following a tragic helicopter crash on the island of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. 

The superstar took to social media to pay tribute to his friend Maria Rodriguez, admitting it was a “very hard goodbye.”

“She was a dear friend to me and to our island community,” he wrote alongside a series of photos. “I have been flying with Maria for over 15 years and we shared a lot of laughs and a lot of life together.”


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A post shared by Kenny Chesney (@kennychesney)

“She was always the first person I saw when I landed and the last person I said goodbye to when I would leave island,” he continued. “I’m sure going to miss that. It’s fair to say I won’t ever be able to go to the Virgin Islands again without feeling the loss of her. She was such a huge part of my island life.”

According to the St. Thomas Source, four people were killed following a helicopter crash in the Botany Bay area of St. Thomas on Monday afternoon. The incident reportedly took place at approximately 3 p.m. local time. Multiple government agencies responded to the scene. 

Chesney closed his post with a final message to Maria.

“So goodbye sweet friend. I’m sure glad our paths crossed on this side. See you on the other.”

Chesney spends quite a bit of his time in the U.S. Virgin Islands. He recently opened up about his love for the island lifestyle during an interview with The Bobby Bones Show

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Lauren Jo Black

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Lauren Jo Black

Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for and her work being featured on She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.