The Everly Brothers perform on "Johnny Cash presents the Everly Brothers Show" on July 8, 1970

The Everly Brothers (Phil and Don Everly) perform on "Johnny Cash presents the Everly Brothers Show" on July 8, 1970 in Nashville, Tenn.

(Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Don Everly has released a statement on the passing of his little brother Phil, who died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease on Friday. The elder Everly writes that the love they shared "will always be deeper than any earthly differences we might have had" during their wildly successful career together.

  • "I loved my brother very much. I always thought I'd be the one to go first. I was listening to one of my favorite songs that Phil wrote and had an extreme emotional moment just before I got the news of his passing. I took that as a special spiritual message from Phil saying good-bye. Our love was and will always be deeper than any earthly differences we might have had. The world might be mourning an Everly Brother, but I'm mourning my brother Phil Everly. My wife Adela and I are touched by all the tributes we're seeing for Phil and we thank you for allowing us to grieve in private at this incredibly difficult time."

On Friday, Phil Everly's wife, Patti, told the Los Angeles Times that the singer's lung disease was contracted through a lifetime of smoking and that the family was "absolutely heartbroken."

Billboard recently ranked the duo, who charted 31 singles on the Hot 100, including 12 top 10 hits, as the 66th-biggest act in the 55-year history of the chart. They are the Hot 100 chart's third biggest duo ever, following Daryl Hall & John Oates, and the Carpenters.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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