Joey Feek, who with her husband Rory formed the award-winning country duo Joey + Rory, died Friday, March 4, at age 40, according to their manager.
Feek, who was diagnosed with cervical cancer two years ago, died at her home in Indiana, Aaron Carnahan said.
After an initial diagnosis in 2014, her cancer continued to spread despite multiple surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation treatment. In October she entered Hospice care, expecting to live six to nine months.
In December, Joey said she hoped to survive to see the release of the Joey + Rory hymns album on Feb. 12, the Grammy Awards on Feb. 15, and the second birthday of their daughter Indiana, who has Down syndrome, on Feb. 17. She lived to see all three.
The Feeks’ song “If I Needed You” was nominated for Best Country Duo/Group Performance at the Grammys (losing out to Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush”) and their album of hymns topped the Billboard Top Country Albums chart in early March. The Feeks are also nominated for vocal duo of the year at the 2016 Academy of Country Music Awards.
The hymns album was listed as No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Christian Albums and Top Country Albums.
Rory, who was a successful songwriter before the duo started singing their own songs, says he won’t perform anymore without Joey.
Rory told Billboard before her death, “No one is more surprised that our ‘Hymns’ record has sold this many copies than Joey and I.”
“We haven’t been promoting our careers at all,” Rory also said in the Billboard article. “The only way I can explain the sales of this record is that it’s a byproduct of something bigger: love.”
In a blog post Friday announcing her death, Rory wrote, “My wife’s greatest dream came true today. She is in Heaven.”
Joey, who was from Alexandria, Ind., found success when she paired up with her songwriter husband on the Country Music Television singing competition Can You Duet? in 2008. Joey sang lead and her husband provided harmonies on songs like “That’s Important to Me.”
“Though this is, and has been, a time of many tears of sorrow, it has also been a time of countless tears of joy,” Rory wrote on his blog Friday. “There have been too many beautiful moments to count or even begin to share in this blog. But I try. When a person has been through as much pain and struggle as Joey’s been through, you just want it to be over. You want them to not have to hurt anymore, more that you want them to stay with you. And so, it makes the hard job of saying goodbye just a little easier.”
A private funeral service will be held, but in a statement from their manager, the family asked that in lieu of flowers, donations could be sent to Joey and Indy at P.O. Box 5471 Vancouver, WA 98668.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
— by Mickey McClean | WNS