Longtime Willie Nelson guitarist Jody Payne passes away

Jody Payne    Photo courtesy WillieNelson.com

Jody Payne, a guitarist who toured with Willie Nelson for more than three decades, has died. He was 77.

Nelson publicist Elaine Schock told The Associated Press she received an email from Payne's granddaughter Saturday saying the guitarist died that morning.

According to a 2011 profile in The Mobile Press-Register, Payne toured with Nelson from 1973 to 2008. He retired to Stapleton, Ala., with his wife Vicki. There he continued playing music, teaching the guitar at a local music store.

More details on Payne's death were not immediately available. A call to Payne's home was not answered.

A post on Willie's Nelson's Facebook page about Payne's death Saturday said, "Our friend will be missed."