‘Nashville’ Cast Reacts to Devastating Twist With Heartfelt Tributes

A city in mourning. The cast of Nashville reacted to the series’ shocking Thursday, February 23, twist with an outpouring of heartfelt tributes on social media after the episode aired. Spoiler alert: Do not read on if you haven’t yet watched the heartrending hour!

After undergoing intensive surgery for the injuries she sustained in last week’s car accident, Rayna Jaymes (Connie Britton) died peacefully in her hospital room surrounded by her husband, Deacon (Charles Esten), and daughters Maddie (Lennon Stella) and Daphne (Maisy Stella). Watch the heartbreaking moment in the clip above!

‘Nashville’ Jake Giles Netter/CMT

Fans were understandably devastated about the loss of one of the show’s main characters — and they weren’t alone. The tight-knit cast was impacted by Rayna’s death as well, and several of the show’s biggest names took to social media to express their gratitude toward Britton, 49, and bid adieu to the series’ emotional core.

The cast of Nashville.
The cast of ‘Nashville’ Bob D'Amico/ABC via Getty Images

“I took this picture almost 5 years ago on my first day of shooting #nashville with @conniebritton,” Esten, 51, captioned a shot of the pair’s monogrammed chairs sitting side by side. “I was already a fan. Now, after all this time, she’s my friend. And I’m an even bigger fan. I’m grateful for every scene, and for every song, and wish her nothing but the very best. ✨ #deaconandrayna.”

Britton had her own message for her Nashville family and fans, which she shared in a touching post via Instagram. “Thank you Rayna James. For your magic and your dignity. And thank you to all the creators of Rayna James, for there were many,” she wrote. “Callie Khouri, who gave her life. Deacon, Maddie, Daphne, who shaped her as her family. … But finally and most importantly, the fans. You made Rayna. You supported her and loved her and gave her inspiration just as she was able to inspire you. You were the energy source, the power behind her heart and soul and life. Rayna lived for you.”

Fans of the hit country music-themed show were distraught after ABC dropped the series last May; CMT picked up the drama for its fifth season, which kicked off last December. 

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