Eddie Montgomery Opens Up About The Loss of His Friend, Troy Gentry—”A Little Piece of My Soul Got Lost There”

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After making a surprise appearance at the the 51st Annual CMA Awards on Nov. 8, , joining Dierks Bentley and Rascal Flatts in a rowdy rendition of “My Town,” a hit for the country duo in 2002, Eddie Montgomery is opening up about the loss of his good friend, Troy Gentry.

Troy, one-half of the super duo Montgomery Gentry, was killed on Sept. 8 as the result of a tragic helicopter crash in Medford, N.J. The singer was going for a helicopter ride at the Flying W Airport in Medford, N.J. before the concert, when the helicopter experienced mechanical issues, ultimately crashing and killing the star.

“A little piece of my soul got lost there,” Montgomery tells PEOPLE. “It was a horrific day, my world changed as much as the band did. It’s something that you never get over. It’s going to be in my mind and my soul for the rest of my life.”

Montgomery and Gentry had known each other for decades, enjoying the success of an award winning country duo. Together the two released eight studio albums including 1999’s Tattoos & Scars, 2002′s My Town and 2004’s You Do Your Thing, which produced hit songs such as “Hillbilly Shoes,” “My Town,” and “Something to Be Proud Of.”

Of his longtime friendship with T-Roy, Montgomery said, “Me and T, we’ve known each other longer than we’ve known our wives. Nashville didn’t put this duo together, we did. We were friends before we were ever in the music business.”

The duo’s final album, Here’s to You, is due out Feb. 2. Fans who pre-order the album will immediately be able to download three songs, including “Better Me.” the duo’s current single released after Gentry’s death.

As for what the future holds, Montgomery will continue keeping the music legacy alive.

“I’ve never done anything else but play music,” he told the magazine. “It’s all I’ve ever known.”