Grammy nominee Joey Martin Feek passed away today in her hometown of Alexandria, Indiana, after a long battle with cancer. She was 50.
A note on her husband Rory’s blog reads, “My wife’s greatest dream came true today. She is in Heaven. 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.”
She and her husband Rory rose to national prominence on CMT’s Can You Duet reality competition in 2008, with their single “Cheater, Cheater” peaking at number 30 on Billboard’s Country Singles chart that same year. In 2009, the Academy of Country Music named the pair its Top New Vocal Duo of the Year.
Joey was diagnosed with cervical cancer shortly after the birth of the couple’s daughter Indiana in 2014, eventually undergoing a radical hysterectomy. The cancer returned the next year, and in spite of more surgery and aggressive treatment, progressed to stage four. The family opted to return to Joey’s hometown to spend their final days in the farmhouse where she grew up, with Rory keeping the world informed via his touching entries on his This Life I Live blog.
In the end, Joey+Rory found their greatest success recording for fellow Alexandria native and famed gospel composer Bill Gaither’s label. Their version of the Emmylou Harris/Don Williams classic “If I Needed You” was nominated for Best Country Duo/Group Performance at this year’s Grammys, while their new album, Hymns that Are Important to Us, recently debuted at number one on Billboard’s Country Albums chart.
Joey+Rory are also up for Vocal Duo of the Year at the Academy of Country Music Awards next month in Las Vegas.
Rory wrote that he and his family will now be moving back to Tennessee, adding, “It’s hard for me to imagine being there without Joey, but at the same time… it is where she wants us to be. It’s where she will be…She’s gonna be in the mint growing beside our back deck, the sweet-corn frozen in our freezer and a million other places that her hand and heart has touched around our little farmhouse and community.”
“Joey will still be with us. Everywhere,” he concluded. “So if it’s okay, I’m gonna close, wipe my tears and pack our bags to hit the road headed south. She’s already got a head-start on me.”
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