Kenny Chesney was forced to pull out of the 2018 CMA Awards on Wednesday night (14Nov18) due to a death in the family.

The country music superstar was scheduled to appear at the big bash in Nashville, Tennessee, but had to sit out at the last minute.

Chesney was announced as an early winner hours before the ceremony got underway, landing the Musical Event of the Year for his Everything’s Gonna Be Alright collaboration with David Lee Murphy.

"CMA Musical Event of the Year winner & Entertainer of the Year nominee @KennyChesney will be unable to appear on tonight's telecast due to a death in the family," a tweet from the CMA Awards organisers read.

The 2018 ceremony, which is currently underway, is being co-hosted by Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood for an 11th time.

Earlier this week, pregnant Carrie assured show bosses and Paisley she would not be going into labour during the telecast

"I should be OK... I got a little ways to go," Carrie said, with insiders claiming the 35-year-old singer is due in late December (18) or January (19).

Carrie and her husband Mike Fisher have remained tight-lipped about the baby details, even refusing to reveal the sex, but the singer, who revealed she was having a boy during the CMA Awards ceremony in 2014, admits she has been struggling to find designers to create outfits for her.

"Fancy designers do not make things with this shape," she smiles, confessing show producers have been considerate about her movement during the show and she'll have less wardrobe changes than she has had in recent years.