Joey Feek, one half of country-music duo Joey + Rory, has passed away after a long battle with cancer.
According to a blog post shared by her husband, Rory, 49, the 40-year-old spent her final hours surrounded by close family, including her 2-year-old daughter Indiana. The toddler was born with Down syndrome shortly before Joey’s terminal diagnosis in mid-2014.
“My wife’s greatest dream came true today. She is in Heaven,” Rory wrote on Friday. “The cancer is gone, the pain has ceased and all her tears are dry. Joey is in the arms of her beloved brother Justin and using her pretty voice to sing for her savior. At 2:30 this afternoon, as we were gathered around her, holding hands and praying… my precious bride breathed her last. And a moment later took her first breath on the other side. As I held her hand and kissed her goodbye one last time… I was reminded of another dream of hers that came true.”
Joey had been in hospice care in the couple’s hometown of Alexandria, Ind. since late-2015.
The Feeks met at a songwriting event in 2002, and the couple had their first date on Valentine’s Day that year. Two months later, they were engaged. Their path to stardom began in 2008, after they competed on CMT’s music competition show Can You Duet.
In a blog post written around Valentine’s Day, Rory recounted the couple’s first date.
“I want to take her back to where our lives first began together, and relive this beautiful journey that God has taken us on. From that first song she heard me sing at the Bluebird cafe, to the last one we sang together as we stood on stage and took our final bow. To the songs that she will leave behind here on earth and the ones she will soon sing for eternity to our sweet Lord in that heavenly choir up yonder.”
Joey + Rory were nominated for a Grammy earlier this year for Best Country Group/Duo performance (which they lost to Little Big Town), and Rory refused to leave Joey’s side. The couple watched the Grammys ceremony from the hospice.
The pair’s most recent album, Hymns, topped both the Billboard country music and Christian music charts for the first time in late-February. It was the first time the duo found themselves sitting atop both lists.
In a November 2015 interview with The Tennessean, Joey insisted she wasn’t mad at any higher power about her affliction.
“I wasn’t mad at [God], I wasn’t upset,” she said. “I was just greatly disappointed. I really thought we had it. I thought, I’m going to be that exception. I’m going to be that statistic that stands out and says, ‘She fought it. We did the most extreme surgery we can do in the gynecologic world, and she did well.’ But for whatever reason, it wasn’t enough, and God had different plans. I was disappointed. I was exhausted.”
“I pray that one morning I just don’t wake up,” she said. “But I don’t fear anything because I’m so close to God and we’ve talked about it so many times. I know he’s close. And I know he loves me. I’m really at peace. I still believe there’s healing in prayer.”
Joey leaves behind her husband, daughter, mother June Martin, father Jack Martin, stepdaughters Hopie Feek and Hedi Feek and four siblings – Jody, Julie, Justin and Jessie.
With files from Chris Jancelewicz
Joey + Rory — If I Needed You
Joey + Rory — In the Garden (Live)
Joey + Rory — Leave It There (Live)
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