About two verses into his performance Saturday, David Olney, who was 71, paused, told the crowd he was sorry and put his chin to his chest. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital at about 9:20 p.m. that night.

SANTA ROSA BEACH — Days after a Nashville musician died from a heart attack onstage at the 30A Songwriters Festival, he is remembered by a friend as being "funny, sweet, caring, interested, smart and driven."

About two verses into his performance Saturday, David Olney, who was 71, paused, told the crowd he was sorry and put his chin to his chest, said Mary Sack, his friend and manager for more than 15 years.

At first, it seemed like he was only resting, she added.

Nashville musician dies at 30A Songwriters Festival

"Scott Miller, who was also on stage, recognized (that) David needed help," Sack wrote in an email. "A doctor in the audience, along with others, helped provide CPR until the ambulance came. ... He was pronounced dead at the hospital around 9:20 p.m. Saturday."

For her, Olney was a dedicated performer who only ever really wanted one thing — "to be heard and connect with others."

Sack first saw him in 1999, while at a release show for Olney’s album "Omar’s Blues." It was then that she became a fan.

"I took a chance to get out and lay witness, not really knowing anything about him or his music," she wrote. "The room was packed (and) I could only squeeze in the front door (of the old Radio Cafe in Nashville) near the back of the room and stand ... squeezed between two other late-comers. ... I felt the walls, the floor and the ceiling literally drop out and disappear. ... (I was) very aware that I was in the presence of something unbelievably amazing and beautiful."

Years later, in 2004, the two crossed paths again while at a different show. Shortly after, they started working together.

David Olney’s YouTube channel

"Just to be in the same room with that gentleman made me a better human," Sack said. "It was an honor to represent him for the past 15 years and continuing to represent on his behalf."

According to the 30A Songwriters Festival’s Facebook page, 2020 marked the 11th year of the event. Officials with Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County — which hosts the festival with Russell Carter Artist Management — were unable to comment on Olney’s death before deadline.

"David was loved and highly respected by all who knew him, including his fellow musicians and his multitude of fans," a post on the festival’s Facebook page said. "(He) is survived by his devoted wife, two children and brother."

In addition to music, Olney was also an avid baseball fan, reader, long-distance walker and bicyclist. When asked how to describe his work — a mix between folk, country, Americana, blues and traditional roots — Sack said it was simply "just great music."

She felt lucky to have spent more than a decade as his manager and friend and hoped to honor his legacy as a "king of perspective."

"He was a true thinker," Sack said. "He might come off as a grumpy curmudgeon to some at first, but his sincere interest in what people really had to say and share would endear him to others. ... I am so confident he would want to be known as a singer-songwriter. The song was always first, (and) that man had almost no ego — never. He took that art form so seriously and shared his art selflessly."