May 9

Honoring Keith Whitley on his 30th Death Anniversary


Keith Whitley’s Bio

Keith Whitley
Photo Credit: Keith Whitley/ youtube.com by Screengrab

Jackie Keith Whitley was born on July 1, 1955. His parents were Faye and Elmer Whitley. He grew up in Sandy Hook and attended Sandy Hook High School. He also has two brothers namely Randy and Dwight and one sister Mary.

Keith really enjoyed his teenage life. Aside from drinking alcohol with his friends, they were also doing threatening car races, speeding and attempting leaps on mountain roads. A tragedy happened when their car crashed and his friend died. Luckily, he was saved from that accident. However, he continued a reckless life, he drove his car on a 120-foot cliff landing on a frozen river but still, he was saved from that accident.

His mother is an editor on a Country News while His father was an electrician. In 1983, Randy, Keith’s brother, incurred a motor accident and was killed.

In 1986, Keith married Lorrie Morgan, an American Country Music singer. The couple was together until his death in 1989. They also have one son named Jessie Keith Whitley born in 1987.

Keith Whitley’s Career

In 1969, he joined in a musical contest with his brother on the five-string banjo. Ricky Skaggs is also one of the contestants. Skaggs and Keith became close to each other.

Whitley was 15 years old while Skaggs was 16 years old when Ralph Stanley discovered them. Ralph was amazed by their voices. The two joined Ralph Stanley’s band. This is where he started his career.

He started recording in 1983 and he released his first album in 1986. In 1988, three of his singles took three spots as number one hits. Before his death, Keith was working on his two singles, “I Wonder Do You Think of Me” and “It Ain’t Nothin’” and luckily topped the charts.

From his first single up to his untimely death, Keith scored a total of 19 hit singles.

Cause of Death

May 9, 1989, was marked as the saddest day in the history of Country Music. Thirty years ago today, Keith Whitley passed away. He was 34 years old at that time. The cause of his death was alcohol dependency. It was reported that he spent his weekend partying and was found fully clothed and face down, dead due to alcohol poisoning.  Though, in his autopsy, they found cocaine and Valium in his urine. Still, the level of alcohol was too high enough to cause his death.

According to the police, Keith’s body was found in his brother-in-law home.

Moreover, Morgan was in Alaska at the time of Whitley’s death because of a promotional tour.

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30th death anniversary, keith whitley, Lorrie Morgan, May 9 1989

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