CMT host Cody Alan says he has been surprised and gratified by the overwhelming support he has received in country music since coming out.

The 44-year-old host of CMT's Hot 20 CountdownCMT After MidNite and CMT Radio Live came out in a post to Instagram on Jan. 12, writing, “As we start a new year, there is something I want to share with you. You see, I’m gay,"

“This is not a choice I made, but something I’ve known about myself my whole life. Through life’s twists and turns, marriage, divorce, fatherhood, successes, failures — I’ve landed on this day, a day when I’m happier and healthier than I’ve ever been," he continued, adding that he's “finally comfortable enough for everyone to know this truth about me."

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Alan tells People that although publishing his message was "perhaps the scariest moment of my life," the "overwhelmingly positive" reaction has been "heartwarming."

"It was great to hear from so many A-listers, from Carrie Underwood and Toby Keith to Dierks Bentley -- that meant the world to me, that they were willing to speak up," he says. "And I’ve received a lot of messages from many smaller, more silent voices who were just grateful to have another country voice speak up and represent themselves. I wasn’t really expecting that reaction."

More stars turned to Twitter to express their support for Alan, including Kacey Musgraves, Maren Morris, Dan + Shay and others.

In the wake of so much support, Alan is hopeful that he can offer hope to others and make a difference with his example.

"If I can help in some way, I hope to do that. It’s been a real challenge for me, and I’ve come through it," he says. "And if I can help others with their struggles — help them see that there is hope and there is a light on the other side, I hope I can be a positive voice in that way. And if this gives hope and courage to more silent voices, I’ve made a positive difference."

GLAAD Vice President of Programs Zeke Stokes believes Alan is already doing just that.

"Millions of radio listeners, television viewers and country music fans love and look up to Cody Alan. And that’s exactly why Cody’s decision to come out matters — because visibility brings about acceptance," he says in a statement. "By sharing his story, Cody is helping listeners and fans get to know someone who shares their passion for country music and southern values, and who also happens to be gay. At a time when America can sometimes seem so divided, it’s the common ground we all share that brings us together, and that’s the power of sharing one’s story."

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