Country Star George Strait Is 'Ready to Retire to His Ranch'

Devastated country music star George Strait swallowed his heartache and saddled up for his current tour after losing his third close friend in less than six weeks — but sources exclusively tell Closer the untimely tragedy has reawakened old fears that the Texas troubadour is finally ready to retire.

The “Amarillo by Morning” singer, 72, was dealt an agonizing blow on April 30 with the death of Tom Foote — his road manager of nearly 48 years. Foote died hours after attending Strait’s final rehearsal for his current stretch of stadium shows — but days later, the dedicated trouper still hit the road.

But insiders say the loss is weighing on the heavy-hearted hitmaker — especially as Gene Elders, longtime fiddle player in Strait’s Ace in the Hole band, and Erv Woolsey, the Grammy winner’s manager and best friend, died within hours of each other on March 20.

“It’s really taken away the enthusiasm,” says an insider. “He is looking around onstage and Gene isn’t there alongside him — and Tom and Erv aren’t there watching in the wings.”

Adds the source, “George will soldier on with the concert dates he has scheduled. But his team has been decimated now, and he’s ready to retire to his ranch in the Lone Star State.”

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