When the country music industry is not filled with celebratory music, impressive awards, and good vibes to put smiles on fans’ faces, this can only mean one of a few things—a very dear country artist has left the world and their beloved fans way too soon for everyone to be able to digest. Country music is no longer new to parting ways to some of its most talented singers and musicians in the most tragic way imaginable.
Let’s recall some of the most unforgettable and heart-wrenching deaths of some of our favorite country artists:
5. Keith Whitley, 33
When Keith Whitley left the world, he was only a rising star in music. He had just earned praises and rave reviews after his single, I’m no Stranger to the Rain, was his third song to hit number one on the charts. The song followed his first two hits to reach number one—Miami, My Amy and When You Say Nothing At All and Don’t Close Your Eyes. Whitley ended his life on May 9, 1989, when he drank himself to death. Ironically, his song, I’m No Strange to the Rain was all about overcoming alcoholism and depression. Whitley left his wife with whom he had been married for only 3 years.
4. Chris LeDoux, 56
Before he attained the fame he reached during his prime years, Chris LeDoux was aided by Garth Brooks. Brooks dropped LeDoux’s name in the song Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old). After that, LeDoux became a successful rodeo performer, was signed to Capitol records in 1991, and released highly acclaimed songs like Cadillac Ranch and Watcha Gonna Do With A Cowboy. Unfortunately, he met his life’s end after a long battle against liver cancer. He died on March 9, 2005.
3. Dottie West, 58
While fans were waiting for Dottie West to arrive and perform at the Grand Ole Opry, they certainly did not anticipate the heartbreaking news that would reach them in place of their country idol. As she was on her way to the event, she got stuck on the side of the road after her Cadillac stalled. She was able to talk an 81-year-old to take her to her destination instead. However, as the man drove her to the Grand Ole Opry, West was too anxious not to be late that she urged the man to speed up, leading the driver to lose control of the vehicle as they were on their way to the exit of Opryland ramp. At 55 mph, the car crashed and left 58-year-old West severely injured. Despite the numerous surgeries she underwent, her body finally gave up and she died on September 4, 1991.
2. Patsy Cline, 30
Country music legend Patsy Cline died at 30-years-old on March 5, 1963. She was on her way home after three performances at the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall in Kansas City. Her flight was cancelled due to poor weather conditions, but she was able to board a private plane after her second night in a motel. Unfortunately, the plane crashed and stole the life of 9-time Billboard chart-topper. According to some of her closest friends in the industry, the singer had been sharing premonitions about her death before the accident took place. After her demise, Cline was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1973.
1. Mindy McCready, 37
As Mindy McCready basked happily in the country music spotlight for her successful hit, Ten Thousand Angels until personal problems left and right took its toll on her inner happiness and peace. Before her death, McCready suffered from custody battle, an abusive partner, and alcohol and drug abuse. The immense amount of stress and negative energy finally clouded the singer’s once clear and happy mind, making her attempt suicide multiple times. On February 2013, she unfortunately succeeded after shooting herself.
Sadly, we really can’t foretell when a person will be leaving us, and we sure as hell have no control over their lives. All we can do is to commemorate all the best days we had with the people we hold dearest and admire the most and keep them alive through the memories that they left with us.