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Garth Brooks honors LeDoux at ACM show

LAS VEGAS - Wyoming country music star Chris LeDoux posthumously received the Pioneer Award from his friend, retired superstar Garth Brooks, at the 40th annual Academy of Country Music Awards on Tuesday.

LeDoux died March 9, 2005 of liver cancer.

"It's never easy to speak for another man," Brooks said, then read a letter from LeDoux's widow, Peggy, thanking the people and saying Chris would have liked the recognition if he had been able to appear.

The letter included Chris' parents, Al and Bonnie, "for getting things rolling," Capitol Nashville's producers "for letting Chris do his own thing and living in the wide-open spaces of Wyoming," and his Western Underground band and crew.

The letter also thanked LeDoux's fans and family.

"We truly have lost an honest friend, a wonderful husband and dad, and a true hero. My only wish is that he could have been there to enjoy the moment," the letter said.

Launching a standing ovation, Brooks shouted, "One last time, God bless Chris LeDoux!"

Capitol Records released the hit single "The Ride", off Chris LeDoux's latest album, Horsepower. Please call your local radio stations and request it.