The country music industry has been shocked and saddened by the unexpected death of a widely respected veteran, Sharon Eaves, who passed away from a sudden illness Sept. 25.
Eaves was the owner and CEO of Fan Clubhouse, which she founded in 1990. In that role, she worked closely with current clients including Brad Paisley, Gary Allan, Scotty McCreery and Jerrod Niemann, and past clients that included Keith Urban, among others.
The company provides professional fan club management, merchandise fulfillment, social media and e-marketing campaigns and database management services for numerous stars. Separately, Eaves also handled artist management duties for some of her clients, including Richie McDonald as well as Bryan White, for whom she was in the process of putting together his first ever Philippines tour at the time of her death.
A longtime member of St. Jude Research Hospital's music industry advisory council, Eaves collapsed during that group's meeting at a Nashville hotel Friday morning and could not be revived. She was believed to have been 58.
A tireless supporter of St. Jude, Eaves served on the advisory council for more than 15 years and spearheaded numerous creative fundraising initiatives involving the artists she worked with and their fans. Those campaigns raised tens of thousands of dollars for the hospital.
Her Fan Clubhouse clients included rock band George Thorogood and the Destroyers, and country stars Paisley, Allan, McCreery, Niemann, McDonald, White, Phil Vassar, Lonestar, Montgomery Gentry, Clay Walker, BlackHawk, Radney Foster and a half dozen more.
Lonestar reportedly dedicated their song "Just The Rain" to Eaves during the band's Friday night concert in Concord, N.C. Most of her other star clients took to social media to express their sorrow, including Allan, McCreery, Vassar, Niemann, McDonald, Walker, and White, as well as Paisley's team, which wrote, "Brad and the entire Paisley family, friends, fans and team are devastated by the loss of our friend and team member Sharon Eaves … Our hearts are heavy." Other artist comments are collected below.
Eaves is survived by husband Tom Harding and teenage son Cameron Harding. A celebration of her life is being planned.
Gary Allan: "For the past 15 years, I have had the privilege of working with Sharon Eaves and the Fan Clubhouse. Sharon has not only worked hand-in-hand bridging the relationships with my fans, but also helping to grow my career and help me expand as an artist. She has been there for me as a business associate and as a friend. I was beyond shocked to hear the news of her passing today. The music industry lost a great businessperson, an amazing advocate for St. Jude, and I lost a longtime friend and supporter. My thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends at this time."
Scotty McCreery: "I am stunned and saddened at the sudden passing of my friend and fan club president, Sharon Eaves. It has been a true pleasure to have worked with her for more than three years, and she was a vital part of my team. My thoughts and prayers are with her family and all those who knew and loved her. In recent weeks, Sharon organized a team of 'Southern Belles' to participate in [Saturday's] St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer in Nashville. The team has raised more than $3,500 for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital thus far. I know every single person on that team will be dedicating their walk to Sharon tomorrow. She was a tireless supporter of St. Jude, as well as all the artists she has worked with through the years. Thank you Sharon for your belief in me. You will be deeply missed by the McCreery family and team."
Phil Vassar: "I'm saddened to hear of Sharon's passing. She had such a sweet, kind spirit and was a joy to work with. She will be deeply missed."
Jerrod Niemann: "I lost a very special friend recently. Sharon Eaves was my fan club president, as she was for many other artists. She dedicated her life to helping others and connecting artists with their most passionate and dedicated fans. Beyond all the amazing memories several of us have shared with her through country music, what I will truly miss the most is a friend."
Clay Walker: "It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that I say goodbye to my friend and CW team member Sharon Eaves. You will be truly missed. Rest in peace Sharon, in the arms of our Lord."
Richie McDonald: "Sharon Eaves, thank you for everything you ever taught me and everything you ever did for me. You will be in my heart forever."
Montgomery Gentry: "It is with heavy hearts that we let you know that Sharon Eaves passed away today. Many of you knew Sharon because she ran the Underground Fanclub for the last few years. Sharon was a great lady and will be greatly missed. Our thoughts are with her family and friends."
Bryan White: "My dear friend and manager Sharon Eaves passed away unexpectedly Friday morning. I am still in shock. It doesn't seem possible. Sharon has been one of my closest friends for over 20 years. Sharon has manned my fan club ship since day one. She has been my manager for at least a decade. Sharon was my biggest supporter within the music industry. I always told people she was my 'music biz' mom and the 'angel in my corner.' Sharon believed in me always. She was a mama bear when it came to looking out for me. We spent almost every day on the phone and we always told each other 'I love you' before we hung up. We spent countless hours together in rental cars. Those were some of my favorite memories. We always laughed … She was an amazing soul. Always out for everybody else's best interest. She gave of herself to no end. I think she took care of everyone else but herself. Her wings always got in the way … I will honor her in everything I do. I'll never forget Sharon. I know she's riding on the clouds and now God is taking care of her and she's not worrying about everybody down here. But heaven will be a little more in order because Sharon's taking care of everybody up there. Until I see you again. I will painfully miss you. My thoughts and prayers are with your family."