Joey Feek, of country duo Joey + Rory, died Friday afternoon after a 20-month battle with cervical cancer. Her husband Rory reported the news on his blog This Life I Live, where he had been documenting his wife’s fight with the terminal illness.
“My wife’s greatest dream came true today. She is in Heaven,” Rory writes. “The cancer is gone, the pain has ceased and all her tears are dry. Joey is in the arms of her beloved brother Justin and using her pretty voice to sing for her savior.”
Joey had been diagnosed with cervical cancer in June 2014, and Rory announced the disease’s return one year later. The country singer said goodbye to her stepdaughters Heidi and Hopie in October, and gathered the remainder of her loved ones — including her mother, father, three sisters, and daughter — on Monday as she prepared for her final days.
GALLERY: Joey Feek’s Life in Pictures
“There were lots of tears as she explained to each one how much she loved them and that she was going to be going home soon. That her time here was done and she was going to go to sleep soon,” Rory wrote that day. In the same post, Rory revealed his wife had been “asleep for days” and “her body is shutting down quickly.” He added, “The hospice nurse came again this morning and said Joey will most-likely only be with us for a few more days.” She died four days later.
Joey had been moved to hospice on Nov. 10, about three weeks after treatment for her stage four cervical cancer was suspended. At that time, Rory said his prayers had been answered, and both country stars were “at peace” with Joey’s state. Weeks after the pair celebrated Christmas together with family, the 49-year-old country singer reported that his wife’s condition had worsened, with the dosage needed to suppress the pain doubling over the last four days. Around the same time, Overstock, with whom the duo has partnered since 2012, started up its #CardForJoeyRory campaign to allow fans to share their best wishes with the stars.
But February was filled with fun moments for the Feek family, including a Grammy viewing party to watch the singers compete for Best Country Duo/Group Performance. While they lost to Little Big Town, the group wrote on Instagram that receiving a nomination was “more than enough.” Two days later, Rory and Joey celebrated daughter Indiana’s second birthday with a special breakfast and family time. “Some birthdays are more than just birthdays. They’re dreams coming true and prayers being answered,” the duo captioned a Feb. 17 photo of Rory and Indiana.
Rory spent his last days with his partner looking at old photos, recalling memories from Joey’s healthier days, and trying understand how he ended up with Joey in the first place. “After all these years, I can’t say I have understood why Joey would choose me and not some rugged horseman from Texas or Montana or somewhere,” Rory wrote Monday. “But then again, maybe it’s not about looking like a cowboy, it’s about what’s inside.”
“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,” Rory wrote Friday. “When a person has been through as much pain and struggle as Joey’s been through, you just want it to be over. You want them to not have to hurt anymore, more that you want them to stay with you. And so, it makes the hard job of saying goodbye just a little easier.”
For more details on Joey’s final moments, head to Rory’s blog here.