When county legend Willie Nelson heard about the deadly explosion at a fertilizer plant in tiny West, Texas, on Wednesday night he immediately knew that he had to do something to help.
West is like our backyard,” Nelson told CMT’s Hot 20 Countdown on Thursday morning. “It’s where I grew up. I road my bike from Abbott to West and back all the time on that road where all this stuff happened. Our thoughts and prayers go out to those folks there in West.”
He wasn’t alone. The explosion brought pleas for prayers and good thoughts from a number of celebs posting under the hashtag #PrayForWest, including Chris Brown, Katy Perry, “Modern Family” star Sarah Hyland, LeAnn Rimes Cibrian, John Legend, Kerry Washington, Miranda Lambert and Pope Francis.
At press time, up to 35 people were thought to have died in the massive blast, which injured more than 160 and spread debris and broken glass throughout the town of 2,800, which his six miles south of Abbott, where Wilson was born.
Here are a few of their tweets:
Reading all the news about Texas. It’s a very sad time for lots of ppl. Let’s send extra love & light out. Don’t take anything for granted.
— Katy Perry (@katyperry) April 18, 2013
“Reading all the news about Texas. It’s a very sad time for lots of ppl,” said Perry. “Let’s send extra love & light out. Don’t take anything for granted.”
Brown also offered some positive vibes, writing, “You are not powerless. The #heart responds to suffering with love. Please send your #love to Boston and Texas.”
West Texas you are in our prayers.This has been a tough week and we will keep praying
— kevin jonas (@kevinjonas) April 18, 2013
“West Texas you are in our prayers,” said Kevin Jonas. “This has been a tough week and we will keep praying.”
Texas native Lambert sent love out as well, offering, “I don’t understand all this craziness in the world right now. Lord please heal the bodies and hearts.”
A number of stars connected the deadly Boston Marathon bombing with the accident in Texas, with Hyland hoping there was no connection between the two. “Another tragic loss of people,” she wrote. “Hoping this was an accident and not done with intent. My prayers are with them.”
In addition to Legend, Rimes and Washington, Eva Longoria, Sophia Bush, Ciara, Missy Elliott, Dane Cook, Blake Shelton and Milla Jovovich were among those who offered their condolences and prayers.
Nelson was planning to celebrate his 80th birthday on April 28 with a show at the Backyard at Bee Cave, a concert venue near Austin. He’s now decided to make that show a benefit for the West Fire Department, following the loss of a number of volunteer firefighters in the blast.
“I’ll be there, and my son Lukas, my son Micah and daughters Paula and Amy,” Nelson told CMT. “We’ll all be there doing a benefit show now. Until today, it was set up as a birthday show. But since the West tragedy happened, we decided to start a benefit there and let other people join in. If they want to donate to the West Volunteer Fire Department, they can do so. That’s where our proceeds are going to go on that day.”