Celebration of life held for Troy Gentry at the Grand Ole Opry

Nashville, TN (WSMV) — Hundreds have gathered in Nashville to celebrate the life of country star Troy Gentry.

Gentry, part of the duo Montgomery Gentry, was killed in a helicopter crash in New Jersey last week.

The public celebration of life ceremony began at 11 a.m. Thursday. A private internment ceremony for family will follow.

A large crowd of fans was waiting outside the Grand Ole Opry before the doors opened Thursday morning.

Gentry’s death is still shocking for many, and the Opry is saying goodbye the best way they know how.

Country stars Trace Adkins, Charlie Daniels and Vince Gill are performing songs during the ceremony.

Gentry’s band partner and friend, Eddie Montgomery, is a pallbearer. The country duo became members of the Grand Ole Opry in 2009, 10 years after their debut album.

During the service, family, friends and fans are remembering the good times they had with Gentry.

Gentry was set to perform in New Jersey last Friday. He took an impromptu ride in a helicopter hours before, and it crashed, killing him and the pilot. NTSB released its preliminary report on Wednesday, citing mechanical problems.

The band had planned to release new music next year for their 20th anniversary. What the future looks like now is uncertain.

In lieu of flowers, Gentry’s family is asking for donations to be made to the T.J. Martell Foundation or the American Red Cross for hurricane relief.