The Chic legend has paid tribute to his close friend after learning the 52-year-old rock star had suddenly died on Wednesday (17.05.17), hours after he performed with his band Soundgarden in Detroit, Michigan, and said while they had a great musical bond, the 'Black Hole Sun' hitmaker was more than just his collaborator as they shared a very ''personal'' relationship.
Speaking to BANG Showbiz about the sad news at the 62nd Ivor Novello Awards - sponsored by PRS for Music and BASCA - at London's Grosvenor House on Thursday (18.05.17), Nile said: ''Our friendship was based on mutual respect of our musicianship, but we were actually friends. Sure I would go to his concerts but we used to spend a lot of time together hanging out together in restaurants, talking about the state of the world, clothing, music, what's your favourite movie. We were much more friends as regular people than we were musical colleagues.''
The 'Le Freak' hitmaker had hoped it was a ''joke'' when he found out about Chris' passing.
He said: ''I just heard the news right before I left my hotel, I was sort of hoping that it was a joke, but a great friend of mine and of Chris' called me, and she was crying that from her state that it was serious.''
On how they were making music and how they'd go to gigs, shop and talk over dinner, he added: ''We did more than make music together, we were friends we hung out together, we would go to dinner with their children, go shopping. Sure, I would go to their concerts and stand back and go, 'Wow my boy is amazing.'
''But our friendship was much, much more personal. We were probably working our way up towards making the music but I think what was just great about my friendship with Chris is that we were just Bros. I could call him up and be like, 'Hey what up man, and we could have dinner and just hang with the kids.'''
'Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing)' arrives in April.
The two awards have made for a great 72nd birthday present for the country music icon.