Luke Bryan Opens Up About Siblings’ Deaths

This is one of those love/hate stories. You will love the cover story on Luke Bryan in People magazine’s special country issue but hate hearing about the tragedy that his family went through early in his career.

Bryan hasn’t always talked so openly about the very untimely deaths of his brother and sister. He has always tried to maintain a positive attitude and focus on the good in life. But this time, he gave the magazine details about what had to be the saddest years for his entire family.

In November 1996, Bryan was five days away from moving to Nashville to pursue his country music dreams. But his older brother Chris, 26, was killed in a car accident. So Bryan put his music plans on the backburner.

“I was never convinced I’d get back to Nashville, but I didn’t spend time on ‘Should I go or should I not?” Bryan said. “It was just ‘Not going.’ Your mother had just lost a child. At that point, her youngest son was not going to leave the house. Chris’ dying got me a little more mature.”

Bryan eventually started working for his dad’s business after college, but he was miserable and his dad encouraged him to head to Nashville in 2001. Bryan did and landed both a publishing deal and a record deal. He started making his debut album I’ll Stay Me, but then tragedy struck again when his sister Kelly, 39, collapsed and died at home.

“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,” Bryan said of her death, which he called “abnormally tragic.”

He says he questioned God, but now he’s at peace.

“I don’t like it,” he said. “I don’t like that my sons are missing that side of my family. But someone else is deciding things.”

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.