Mike Henderson, founding member of bluegrass band The SteelDrivers, has passed away at the age of 69.
The news was announced by The SteelDrivers on social media late Friday (Sept. 22) in a post that read, in part, “…All the SteelDrivers, past and present, are in shock today as we have lost our original architect….Hendo, we will see you again where rainbows never die.”
His death was confirmed in a statement from his wife posted to his official website. The post stated that Mike was in good health and passed away peacefully in his sleep.
“It is with a heavy heart we announce the passing of Mike. He was a wonderful husband, father, & the love of my life for almost 45 years. We followed his dreams, and colleagues, friends & fans allowed him to achieve a level of success we never imagined. He most valued his friends who meant everything,” Janet Henderson wrote. “Although Mike was in very good health, he died peacefully in his sleep yesterday morning. Myself and our daughters are devastated but we know we can get through this with all your love for Mike that we are are basking in.”
Henderson helped form The SteelDrivers in the ’90s more than two decades after moving to Music City from Missouri to pursue a solo career. He also found success first as a songwriter with credits that include songs recorded by Trisha Yearwood, Travis Tritt, The Chicks, Kenny Rogers, Adele and more.
In 2008, The SteelDrivers signed to Rounder Records with Chris Stapleton at the helm. Two years later Stapleton left and Mike Henderson followed a year later, despite the group’s success. The pair remained close and teamed up to write together, creating some of what would become Stapleton’s signature songs after launching his solo career in 2015.
In 2018, Henderson and Stapleton earned a Grammy Award for Best Country Song and a CMA Award for Song of the Year for “Broken Halos.” They earned another CMA Song of the Year in 2021 for “Starting Over.”
During their acceptance speech in 2021 Stapleton credited Henderson for teaching him how to write.
“I’m gonna give it over to one of my heroes, Mike Henderson, who I’ve probably written more songs with than anybody in Nashville, Tennessee. This man showed me how to write songs,” Chris said.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Mike Henderson’s family, friends and all who knew and loved him. He will be missed.