Country music suffered a tremendous loss last Friday (April 26), when the legendary George Jones passed away at the age of 81. But more than a Nashville icon, Jones was a friend and inspiration to many -- including Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards, who penned a eulogy for Jones that was released in time for his funeral service yesterday (May 2).

Rolling Stone published Richards' remembrance in full, while ABC News traced the pair's friendship to Jones' 1994 release 'The Bradley Barn Sessions,' which featured them performing a duet on a version of the Dallas Frazier song 'Say It's Not You,' a personal favorite for both artists.

Read the full text of Richards' statement below.

George Jones has left us. We have lost one of the most individual singers of all time. I cannot express the emptiness I feel.

George was as country as it can get, but he was beyond any bag you want to put him in. He was pure American music without ever waving a flag – you can hear a million imitations on the radio every day – but there was, and ever will be, only one George Jones.

He possessed the most touching voice, the most expressive ways of projecting that beautiful instrument of anyone I can call to mind. You heard his heart in every note he sang. Sinatra called him the second best singer ever. (The number one obviously being Frank!). I would contest that.

I truly loved 'the possum.' He was a crazy as me, and just as free… and, oh boy, could he hang.


Hear Keith Richards Play 'Say It's Not You'