Joey Feek Dead: Half of Country,

Joey Feek, half of the country and gospel duo Joey + Rory, died of cervical cancer Friday, her husband Rory Feek confirmed on his blog.  She was 40.

“My wife’s greatest dream came true today. She is in Heaven,” Feek announced in an emotional blog post. “The cancer is gone, the pain has ceased, and all her tears are dry.” He continued, “Though this is, and has been, a time of many tears of sorrow, it has also been a time of countless tears of joy. There have been too many beautiful moments to count or even begin to share in this blog.  But I try.” He’d been using his blog, “This Life I Live,” to update fans and loved ones on the status of his wife’s health.

Drawn to country music since childhood, Feek first sang in public during a first-grade talent show, where she performed Dolly Parton’s “Coat of Many Colors.” In 1998 she relocated from her native Indiana to Nashville and signed to Sony Records two years later. Though the country singer recorded two albums with the label, her big break arrived in 2008, when she appeared on the CMT series “Can You Duet” with her husband Rory.  The husband and wife duo finished third in the competition and signed a record deal with Sugar Hill Records.

Their debut album “The Life of a Song” earned the couple the 2010 Academy of Country Music Award win for new vocal duo of the year.  They went on to release four additional country albums, two gospel albums and a Christmas album. The pair’s final joint album, “Hymns That Are Important to Us,” was released last month and debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s country and Christian music charts, marking their seventh album as their biggest debut to date. They also received a 2016 Grammy nod for best country duo/group performance.

The country singer was initially diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2014. After an apparent recovery, the cancer returned in 2015 and eventually spread. In November 2015, her husband announced that she’d been admitted to hospice care.

Fellow country music crooners Carrie Underwood, the Band Perry and Maddie & Tae paid condolences on social media:

“People from all over the world have gotten to know what an incredible talent and person Joey Feek was,” said SAG-AFTRA Nashville Local President Michael Montgomery. “Her faith in God, family and her love of music were an inspiration to millions.”

“If you ever met Joey, you knew immediately that she was someone special. She was one of the kindest, most approachable people you could imagine,” said SAG-AFTRA Nashville Local Executive Director Richard Van Syckle.

Feek is survived by her husband, Rory; daughter Indiana; and two stepchildren, Hopie and Heidi.

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