NASHVILLE, Tenn.—The infighting and hard feelings between the Everly Brothers were well-known, but surviving brother Don felt he had a special moment with his brother Phil before Phil's passing Friday—even if the two weren't together at the time.

"I was listening to one of my favorite songs that Phil wrote and had an extreme emotional moment just before I got the news of his passing," Don Everly wrote in a statement to The Associated Press on Saturday morning. "I took that as a special spiritual message from Phil saying goodbye. Our love was and will always be deeper than any earthly differences we might have had."

Phil Everly died Friday in California from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. He was 74.

The Everly Brothers were arguably the most influential vocal duo in music history. They brought their love of country music to rock 'n' roll in the 1950s and 1960s, transforming the pop charts of the day and inspiring legions of young proto rockers like the Beatles, Bob Dylan and the Byrds who would go on to change popular culture.

Songs like "Bye Bye Love" and "Wake Up Little Susie" remain a shared memory for generations of listeners who were hooked by their deceptively simple harmonies that hid greater meaning in songs that were dark and new compared with the pop music of the day.

The two broke up amid quarrelling in 1973 after 16 years of hits, then reunited in 1983, "sealing it with a hug," Phil Everly said.

There was a heavy outpouring on social media following Phil Everly's death, proving The Everly Brothers remain relevant a half-century after their first hits.

Don Everly said he didn't expect to see the day his brother would pass.

"I loved my brother very much," the 76-year-old wrote. "I always thought I'd be the one to go first. ... The world might be mourning an Everly Brother, but I'm mourning my brother Phil Everly."

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Follow AP Music Writer Chris Talbott: http://twitter.com/Chris—Talbott.