Luke bryan siblings death

Luke Bryan isn’t one to show his sorrow, or the personal pain he has been through. He is seemingly forever positive, and upbeat. But last night, one particular American Idol audition, caught Bryan off his guard, and he shared some of his torment.

The tears were brought on by an emotional performance from contestant Nick Townsend, and his story. Townsend revealed that he had lost both of his brothers to suicide, an experience Luke could certainly relate to, having lost both of his siblings.

When he was just 19 and about to leave home for Nashville, Bryan lost his older brother, Chris, in a car accident. Twelve years ago, tragedy struck again when Luke lost his sister, Kelly, unexpectedly, while she was at home with her young son. The cause of death has still not been determined. In 2014 Kelly’s husband Ben died of a heart attack. Since then, Luke and his wife Caroline, have taken their 3 children under their wings.

After hearing Nick’s story, Luke was inspired to share his own losses.

Nick Townsend Reveals Heartbreaking American Idol Audition Inspiration – American Idol on ABC

Nick Townsend’s reveals his heartbreaking inspiration. Then the Idol hopeful performs “Let It Go” by James Bay for of Luke Bryan, Lionel Richie and Katy Perry. See more of American Idol on our official site: Like American Idol on Facebook: Follow American Idol on Twitter: Follow American Idol on Instagram: AMERICAN IDOL, the iconic series that revolutionized the television landscape by pioneering the music competition genre, returns on ABC.

American Idol returned to ABC last night for it’s 17th season, with year 2 of this judge line-up. Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan were excited to return and the show was the night’s ratings winner, by a decent margin.

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The past 23 years have been filled with triumphs and tragedies for Luke Bryan.

The country singer married his college sweetheart, Caroline, in 2006 and started a family around the same time he launched a wildly successful music career. But in between the highs were the lows, including the tremendous losses of his brother, Chris, in 1996 and his sister, Kelly, in 2007.

Then, in 2014, another tragedy struck when his sister’s husband died, leaving Bryan’s nephew, Til, and nieces, Kris and Jordan, without their parents.

During an interview on the 3rd hour of TODAY Tuesday, Bryan opened up about what it’s been like to live in the wake of so much loss and to suddenly go from uncle to guardian — and the one person who’s made it all manageable.

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“I think with us, I mean, obviously, I do it with (the help of) my wife, hand in hand,” he told TODAY contributor Jill Martin, noting how much Caroline has supported him and the whole family. “The work that she puts in with the children … I mean, it’s just amazing. I look at her phone and it’s just pinging and vibrating and going off constantly, and it’s the children.”

And he doesn’t know how he could navigate any of it without her.

“She’s really stepped in and just crushed that role at being someone for them,” Bryan said of her impact on the lives of their nieces and nephew, in addition to her impact on their own children, Thomas, 11, and Tatum, 8.

For his part, Bryan’s handled it all the only way he knows how.

“You’ve got to lean on your faith and understand that you have to really hold true that it was God’s plan,” he continued.

But when that plan involves so much grief, the “American Idol” judge believes it’s important to remember that others are suffering too.

“Just when I think I’ve got it bad, you meet somebody else that’s dealing with really, really challenging stuff,” he said.

That perspective helps him — and it helps him to help others.

Country music star Luke Bryan opens up to TODAY contributor Jill Martin.TODAY

“I think it’s important for me to try to be honest when I’m having good days, bad days,” Bryan said. “Then the way I conduct myself, hopefully, and the way our family can inspire some people, you know, that’s the special element. If there’s any positive side to any of this thing, I have so many fans walk up and go, ‘You know, just the way you lived through tragedy’s really inspired our family to get through our own personal tragedies and struggles.”

And just knowing that, lightens his load a bit.

Luke Bryan: My brother Chris’ death made me appreciate chasing my dreams

March 30, 201700:29

In February 2017, Luke Bryan, his wife Caroline Bryan, and their family, mourned the loss of Bryan’s niece, Sadie Brett Boyer.

Sadie was the daughter of Bo Boyer, Caroline’s brother, and Ellen Wells Boyer. According to a Facebook post by Ellen, Sadie suffered from a congenital heart defect and a number of other medical issues.

In response to fans’ outpouring love and sympathies for the family following Sadie’s death, Bryan took to Twitter to write, “We thank all of you for your prayers. Love y’all.”

Sadly, Bryan also lost his older brother, Chris, in a car accident in 1996. He lost his sister, Kelly, in 2007. Then, in 2015, Bryan lost his brother-in-law, Ben Lee Cheshire, just after Thanksgiving.

We thank all of you for your prayers. Love y’all.

— Luke Bryan (@LukeBryanOnline) February 21, 2017

Not long after Cheshire’s death, Bryan and his wife welcomed Ben and Kelly’s son, Til, who is their nephew, into their family. In 2015, The Boot quotes Bryan as saying, “We feel honored that we are so blessed to take him in… He has two older sisters, too, so now I’m kind of like, I’ve gotta do the whole ‘scare whoever, the boys that they are talking to.’ I have to play that role, too.”

In an interveiw with ABC News, Bryan shared, “We feel like if we just stay positive through this, maybe we’ll be a positive inspiration for people that had these things happen to ’em… You just have to plow on and play the hand that’s dealt.”

He continued, “You know, we just stay positive. I think people expect that from me… I have to pray that people that have had similar situations can maybe look at my family and see me positively dealing with it. I’m not saying it’s easy.”

Despite the tragedies he has faced, Bryan has kept on with his head held high. Rolling Stone writes, “….he’s persevered, leading with an unfailing, blinding smile.”

Bryan, 42, was born in Leesburg, Georgia. His father was a peanut farmer. He went to college at Georgia Southern University, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. Afterwards, he made his way to Nashville to focus on his burgeoning music career.

In their interview with the artist, Rolling Stone asked about the version of the artist behind his debut album, I’ll Stay Me. Bryan shared, “It was just a funny time in my life. Getting this thing rocking and going. . . When you start thinking about how difficult it is even to just get noticed in a label. When you’re the new act that just got signed, and there are so many acts before you and you’re just trying to navigate how to do something to get people to turn their heads and give you a little love. When you get to the point where you have a hit, and we had a hit with “All My Friends Say,” a lot of people don’t remember “We Rode in Trucks” was my second single and it died at like 35. It just broke my heart. . . But at that point, I was just naïve enough, green enough, gullible enough and everything you needed to be to just be good to people and stay positive and outwork everybody.”

  • Luke Bryan has faced unimaginable tragedies in his life, with the death of his brother, sister, and niece.
  • The singer and his wife, Caroline Boyer, have both spoken about how they cope with the devastating events.
  • Caroline recently said she and her family “make the best of something that’s horrible.”

Luke Bryan’s albums are full of easy-going hits that put a smile on just about anyone’s face. Although the seemingly happy-go-lucky country star doesn’t choose to sing about the sadness he’s experienced, his life has unfortunately been filled with tragedy. But there’s a reason the American Idol judge always appears so upbeat.

“Our family thing is, you can take two paths in life: one of being bitter and angry, or one of I’m gonna find the happiness in this and make the best of something that’s horrible,” his wife, Caroline Boyer, told CMT about the devastating moments she’s faced with her husband.

Luke’s first heartbreak happened at the age of 19. He was was getting ready to move to Nashville (he even had an apartment lined up) when his older brother, Chris Bryan, was killed in a car accident. The devastating loss threw him for a loop, but also served as a stark reminder about life’s fragile nature. Luke delayed the move—finishing his education at Georgia Southern University and meeting his future wife in the meantime—but after four years, his dad insisted he pursue Music City, telling him, “This life will always be there.”

The life Luke’s father referred to was his country roots: The singer-songwriter grew up on a farm in rural Leesburg, Georgia, the youngest of three children including a sister, Kelly. “He was really adamant about me chasing my dreams,” Luke told ABC’s Robin Roberts during a special Living Every Day: Luke Bryan that aired on November 6, 2017.

Luke and Caroline have faced the toughest and happiest moments together. Getty Images

Luke found Nashville “liberating” and it wasn’t long before he was writing songs for artists like Travis Tritt, including the title track of Tritt’s 2004 album My Honky Tonk History. He signed with Capitol Nashville in 2004 and released his first hit single, “All My Friends Say,” three years later.

He married his college sweetheart, Caroline, in December 2006. “When I moved to Nashville and started my family I was really determined to create a situation where they would grow up with a country style of life,” Luke said, adding that he wanted his children to learn how to hunt and fish.

Then, in May 2007, tragedy struck again. Luke’s sister, Kelly, died unexpectedly while at home with her young son. Caroline revealed to CMT just how amazing of a woman Kelly really was. “She was healthy, beautiful, and the best mom to ever walk this earth,” she said.

Sadly for the family, they never got an answer as to what exactly caused Kelly’s death. “They never determined what happened. The autopsies, the coroner, no one could figure it out,” Luke told People in 2013. He had just seen her one month before when she’d come to watch his Grand Ole Opry performance. The photo they took that night was their last one together.

His son Bo was born nearly a year later, followed by a second son, Tate, in 2010. Caroline describes Bo as more like his father (he “wakes up singing and dancing”), though Tate “likes to be in the background and that is exactly how I am; I don’t want to be front and center,” she told Linda from the family’s Red Bird Farm in Tennessee, named so because both she and Luke’s sister had a habit of wishing upon crimson-colored fliers.

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Watch Lebron’s boys. Here come the Bryan’s

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When Kelly’s husband, Ben Lee Cheshire, who’d been raising their children alone after her death, died in 2014, Luke and Caroline became the parents of three more: Jordan, 24, Kris, 20, and Til, 17.”We never thought twice about it,” said Caroline about taking in their two nieces and nephew. “You know, it was never something that he and I had to sit down and talk about, you know, should we take this on? We just did it.”

Family comes first for this cute couple. Getty Images

“I’ve watched my family go through ebbs and flows where we get mad at God and we get mad at why this has happened,” Luke said. “Well, you keep going and you try to, try to be as positive as you can, and you try to appreciate every day … You’ll never get back to 100 percent. You’ll always be working to get back to 75 percent.”

In February 2017, they experienced a loss on Caroline’s side of the family, too: her niece, Sadie Brett, passed away at just seven months old. They’ve honored her with a structure emblazoned with the moniker “Brett’s Barn” and a field of bright flowers on the farm. “You have to honor their memory by living, you have to be a positive light for people,” Luke said. “If you live long enough life’s going to get you a little bit.”

But not all tears are sad ones for the Bryan family, though. When Luke won CMA Entertainer of the Year for the first time in 2014 (he also won in 2015) the group got “together and celebrated and cried,” he said. “It certainly makes it special when we’re all together and we know that people are smiling down, and they’re, they’re with us, celebrating these amazing moments.”

Look Back at Luke’s Best Albums

‘What Makes You Country’ ‘Crash My Party’ ‘Tailgates & Tanlines’ ‘Kill The Lights’

  • American Idol contestant Nick Townsend revealed on the premiere episode that he had lost both of his brothers.
  • When judge Luke Bryan learned of Nick’s tragic loss, he opened up about his own siblings’ deaths.
  • Luke lost his brother, Chris, in 1996, and his sister, Kelly, in 2007.

On the premiere of American Idol season 2, things got very emotional for judge Luke Bryan when Nick Townsend walked into the studio.

Right before Nick’s audition, it was revealed that the Nebraska native had lost his two brothers, Zack and Matt, after they had taken their own lives. While Nick explained that he had thought about quitting music a lot, he knew his brothers would’ve wanted him to keep going and pursue his dream. All of that brought him to the American Idol stage, where he gave an emotion rendition of “Let It Go” by James Bay and received three “yes” votes to advance to the next round.

During the audition, judges Lionel Richie and Katy Perry offered up kind words in support of the young contestant. Luke Bryan took the opportunity to share his own experiences losing his brother and sister.

“Oh bud,” Luke gan. “I haven’t brought this up on this show because I haven’t had to, but as somebody that — I’ve lost both of my siblings — I just applaud you for keeping a positive attitude and continuing to fight and just try to be a light for your parents.”

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A post shared by Nick Townsend (@nicktownsend40) on Feb 18, 2019 at 6:08pm PST

The country singer’s older brother, Chris, was tragically killed in a car accident when Luke was only 19 years old in 1996. Luke was just five days away from moving away to Nashville to pursue music when it happened. And after Chris’ death, Luke decided to put his plans on hold for a bit.

After eventually moving to Nashville, marrying his college sweetheart, Caroline Boyer, and beginning his music career, Luke received more devastating news. His sister, Kelly, had died unexpectedly while at home with her son in 2007.

“She was home with her 3-year-old, and it was like someone turned the lights out. They never determined what happened. The autopsies, the coroner, no one could figure it out,” Luke reportedly told People in 2013.

All you can do, as Luke has said before, is keep your head up and look for the good when you can.

“You keep going, and you try to be as positive as you can, and try to appreciate every day,” Luke told ABC News in 2017.

Luke made sure to pass along this same message of positivity and strength to Nick and his family after it was revealed that the young singer was going to Hollywood.

“You know what you got to remember? It’s alright to cry good tears,” Luke said.

Related Stories Kayla Keegan News and Entertainment Editor Kayla Keegan covers all things in the entertainment, pop culture, and celebrity space for Good Housekeeping.

Luke Bryan endured quite a lot on his journey to becoming a top country artist. He lost two siblings, and just when he thought everything was going to be okay, Ben Lee Cheshire, his late sister Kelly’s husband, also passed away, leaving their three children (Luke Bryan’s nephew and two grown nieces) without parents. Without hesitation, Luke Bryan and his wife Caroline decided to take in all three.

Here are the details behind how Bryan’s brother and sister died.

How Did Luke Bryan’s Brother and Sister Die?

Chris, Kelly, and Luke Bryan were born in rural Leesburg, Georgia, to peanut farmers, Tommy and LeClaire Bryan. He was 19 years old when his big brother tragically died in a car accident.


“When Chris passed away I was 19 years old, fixin’ to chase my dream, it just totally rocked our family’s world, rocked my world,” Bryan said, remembering his older brother.

He was supposed to leave for Nashville, Tennessee to pursue a career in music after high school. But tragedy struck, so he stayed back with his family to support them.

After his brother’s death, Bryan went to Georgia Southern University. He graduated in 1999 with a Bachelor’s degree in business administration.

Also Read: Caroline Boyer Wiki: Facts to Know about Luke Bryan’s Wife

Bryan had another shot at the music industry, but wanted to stay behind to work at his family’s farm during the day, and continue to sing in bars at night. So, Bryan’s father decided to fire him so that he could pursue his music career.

Thanks Roanoke #HFETour


A post shared by Luke Bryan Official (@lukebryan) on Sep 14, 2017 at 8:22pm PDT


In 2007, Bryan went to Nashville and gained success as a singer and songwriter. When he was going to play at the Grand Ole Opry, his sister invited 129 people for the show!

Another tragic incident struck the Bryan family after the performance. A few days later, his sister died in their home, but her cause of death is still a mystery.


Bryan said in an ABC interview, “My only older siblings…gone from the world, in a flash in two, two different, crazy, tragic manners, that…we’ll never know, and never understand.”

Why Did Bryan Take in His Sister’s Children?

Kelly Bryan was married to Ben Lee Cheshire and had three kids with him named Kris, Jordan, and Tilden. Just as the Bryan’s were recovering from the heartache of the tragic losses, Cheshire died of a heart attack in 2014.

Cheshire left behind his three children, but Luke and Caroline Bryan were quick to take in their nieces and nephew.


Caroline Bryan said, “We never thought twice about it, you know, it was never something that he and I had to sit down and talk about. ‘Should we take this on?’ We just did that.”

The couple have two sons of their own—Thomas and Tatum. Luke Bryan’s Instagram posts show how much he loves all his kids, and how he has overcome some very painful losses.

Kris and Jordan Cheshire are now in college, and Tilden James Cheshire is looking to make his life successful.

Luke and Caroline Bryan are making sure that their children get all the love and affection they deserve, and look like one big, happy family.

Luke Bryan and his wife, Caroline, are once again dealing with a family tragedy.

Bryan reached out to his fans on Tuesday to thank them for their prayers after his infant niece, Sadie Brett Boyer, died. Sadie Brett is the daughter of Caroline’s brother, Bo Boyer, and his wife, Ellen. She was born last summer with cardiac issues.

“We thank all of you for your prayers. Love y’all,” Bryan tweeted.

NEWS: Luke Byran Is ‘Honored’ to Be Raising His Late Sister’s Children

We thank all of you for your prayers. Love y’all.

— Luke Bryan (@LukeBryanOnline) February 21, 2017

Bryan’s sister-in-law gave updates on the child on her Facebook page, and on Monday, shared that her daughter “declined overnight.” Sadie Brett was being treated at a hospital for health issues, including an infection that affected her liver.

“Please flood the heavens with prayers,” Ellen wrote on Monday. “We will not give up on our tough, brave Brett.”

Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time the 40-year-old country superstar has dealt with a family tragedy. Bryan’s brother, Chris, was killed in a car accident in 1995 at the age of 26. His sister, Kelly, also died in 2007 at her home of undetermined causes. She was 39 years old.

And following the unexpected death of his brother-in-law, Ben Lee Cheshire, in November 2014, the 40-year-old country superstar took in his teenage nephew — Kelly’s son, Til — to live with him and his wife, as well as their two sons, Bo and Tatum.

WATCH: Luke Bryan Talks Raising His Nephew in a ‘Crazy Household’

“My only siblings gone from the world in a flash, in two different, crazy, tragic manners,” Bryan told ABC News in 2013, about losing both his brother and sister.

“Losing my brother changed me tremendously and losing Kelly, even more,” he also told People Country in 2014. “I literally do not take one second for granted.”

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