The Achy Breaky Heart singer gave up drinking in 1992, almost three years after Whitley, 34, died from alcohol poisoning.

Cyrus admits he was going down the same track as Whitley, hitting bars five nights a week, accepting free drinks from fans, and performing drunk onstage, and it took Whitley's death to shake him up.

"Keith is from where I’m from up there in eastern Kentucky," Cyrus explains. "In some ways, Keith, I feel like he saved my life. It was his influence and the fact that I loved Keith Whitley so much that when my chance came, my inner voice, my spirit inside, my intuition, that voice within said, 'Cyrus, you’ve worked 10 years to get to this spot and you finally have earned your chance. Are you going to be too drunk to keep up with it? They say your record is going to explode around the world. That’s going to take a lot of work'.

"The voice just said, 'You’ve got to quit drinking'. I quit. I haven’t had a drop since."

Ironically, Billy Ray plays a drunk ex-convict in new TV series Still The King.