Dierks Bentley‘s father, Leon Bentley, died on Friday, June 1. The singer was forced to cancel shows beforehand, and in the wake of his dad’s death, tweeted the news to fans, thanking them for their support. He also took a moment to reflect on the fact that his father was his biggest influence in country music, since his dad’s listening habits turned him onto the genre as a young kid.

According to Music City USA News (quotes provided by an EMI rep), Bentley said, “My dad’s my biggest influence in country music, because my dad loved country radio, so we always drove around listening to country radio — George Strait and Hank Williams and Randy Travis and all those guys. So, without him, I wouldn’t be doing this, for sure.”

Country fans should send up a prayer of thanks to the late Leon Bentley for directing his son down the country road and being the guiding force that brought him into our lives an entertainer. The elder Bentley was also a World War II veteran — he served in the Army, which was something he really enjoyed, according to his musical son.

“He grew up in a town of 1200 people and the army was a chance to go overseas and see some of the world. He really enjoyed the men in his company and lost some friends over there,” Dierks said, according to the Boot. “He doesn’t talk too much about that aspect of it, but he has nothing but good memories of being able to serve and be part of that.”

A private memorial service is being scheduled. Additionally, Dierks Bentley will resume performing on June 9 at the WYCD Downtown Hoedown in Detroit. He will also play his June 10 set during the CMA Music Festival’s nightly concert at LP Field in Nashville as planned.

Our thoughts and prayers continue to go out to Bentley and his family.