The Everly Brothers were well-known for their fiery and oftentimes rocky relationship, but underneath it all ran a very deep love. Now, Don Everly is opening up about his brother Phil Everly's death. 

"I loved my brother very much," the 76-year-old singer tells People from his home in Tennessee. "I always thought I'd be the one to go first."

Phil passed away from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease on Friday (Jan. 3). He was 74. Don reveals that it was actually a very special moment for him when he heard the news. "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," he shares. "I took that as a special spiritual message from Phil saying goodbye."

The Everly Brothers shot to fame in the 1950s with hits like ‘Bye Bye Love,’ ‘Wake Up Little Susie' and ‘All I Have to Do Is Dream’ before breaking up in 1973 and cutting ties for a decade -- even refusing to speak to one another. They reunited in 1983, and Don explains that while their differences were vast, their love was even deeper.

"Our love was and will always be deeper than any earthly differences we might have had," he admits, adding touchingly, "The world might be mourning an Everly Brother but I'm mourning my brother Phil Everly."

Concludes the singer, "My wife Adela and I are touched by all the tributes we're seeing for Phil and we thank you for allowing us to grieve in private at this incredibly difficult time."