The Official Portal for the State of Georgia

Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue
Georgia Seal

Statement of Governor Perdue Regarding the Passing of Ray Charles

Thursday, June 10, 2004  Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774


ATLANTA, GA - Governor Sonny Perdue issued the following statement today regarding the passing of Ray Charles: "Mary and I were deeply saddened to hear of the passing of one of Georgia's most admired native sons Ray Charles. He was blessed with incredible musical talent and used his gifts to overcome poverty, segregation, and blindness. Ray was one of the best ambassadors our state ever produced. People everywhere know our state song and that is thanks to Ray Charles' famous rendition of Georgia on My Mind. Mary and I were honored to have Ray sing that song at our 2003 Inaugural Celebration. Ray Charles traveled the world... but he never forgot his roots. On behalf of all Georgians, we extend our condolences to the family of this great Georgian." Ray Charles was born September 23, 1930, in Albany, Georgia. During his musical career, he won twelve Grammy Awards. From 2000-2003, Ray Charles helped promote the Georgia Lottery which funds Georgia's HOPE and pre-K programs. Two years ago, Charles donated $2 million to Albany State University. He made popular the Hoagy Carmichael and Stuart Gorrell song Georgia on My Mind which became Georgia's official state song in 1979.