George Strait is reeling from the loss of two longtime pals — and friends believe the double tragedy may cause the country king to hang up his hat.

Erv Woolsey, 80, who discovered Strait playing in Texas bars and served as his manager for nearly 45 years, and fiddle player Gene Elders, 73, a member of the legend’s Ace in the Hole band since 1984, both shockingly died within hours of each other on March 20.

The “Check Yes or No” singer, 71, said on social media it’s “hard to believe we lost two of our music family members on the same day.”

Now, a source tells Closer that the dual deaths have left Strait with a sinking, lonely feeling. “George keeps a very small circle of close friends, and Erv and Gene were prominent in it,” the insider explains. “George always said he owes his career to Erv. Gene played at George’s side for nearly a thousand concerts. These are heartbreaking losses.”

Country music‘s all-time hitmaker has had 60 No. 1s — but he’s also no stranger to sorrow. His 13-year-old daughter, Jenifer, was killed in a car crash in 1986. His 58-year-old brother, Buddy, succumbed to an accidental overdose in 2009, and his drummer Mike Kennedy, 59, died in a highway accident in 2018.

But a friend believes the recent losses may cause Strait to quit performing live after wrapping his current concert schedule.

“George doesn’t like change, and he’s not likely to take on a new manager full time,” the pal says. “With losing Gene — and before him, Mike — his band isn’t the same. He’s made noises about retiring to his Texas ranch in the past — but losing two of his closest confidants makes it all the more likely he’s going to ride off into the sunset!”

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