Joey Feek (1975 - 2016)
By: Legacy Staff
2 years ago
Joey Feek, a member of the hit country and bluegrass duo Joey + Rory who shared her cancer fight via social media, died of the disease March 4, 2016. She was 40.
Feek started Joey + Rory along with her husband, Rory Feek. The duo received their first national attention in 2008, when they were third-place finalists on the CMT reality show "Can You Duet." They went on to outperform the acts that came in first and second place, with their debut single, 2008's "Cheater, Cheater," reaching No. 30 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart.
Joey + Rory released their debut album, "The Life of a Song," shortly after that single, and it climbed to No. 10. Six additional albums followed, including a collection of Christmas songs and a gospel album. Their second album, "Album Number Two," yielded the charting single "This Song's for You," co-written by Rory Feek and Zac Brown of the Zac Brown Band. Brown also performed the song with the duo. On the strength of that album, Joey + Rory won for top new vocal duo at the 2010 Academy of Country Music Awards.
Born Joey Martin Sept. 9, 1975, in Alexandra, Indiana, Feek moved to Nashville as a young woman to pursue a career in country music. Signed with Sony Records, she recorded two solo albums in 2000 and 2004, but neither saw release until 2007, when her second album, "Strong Enough To Cry," was released as a download only.
Feek was first diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2004. After treatment and remission, it returned in June 2014, shortly after she gave birth to the couple's only child, a daughter named Indiana who has Down syndrome. Her cancer spread to her colon in 2015, and by October, she had announced that her diagnosis was terminal. She entered hospice care at home in November. She kept friends and fans updated by sharing news and photos on social media. Tens of thousands of fans shared photos of Feek with family members with upbeat captions including "the mail lady delivered big smiles to us today. ... hand-sewn hats, made with love."
Though Feek and her husband lived on a farm in Tennessee, she saw her final days in her Indiana hometown. In the weeks after her terminal diagnosis, she encouraged fans with inspirational words.
"God decided for me that my job of singing for people down here is my legacy, and he needs me singing up there," she said in an interview with the Tennessean. "That's how I look at it."
Feek is survived by her husband and daughter, along with two stepdaughters, Heidi and Hope.
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