Luke Bell, the country artist who was found dead at the end of August after going missing for several days was laid to rest on Sept. 9, 2022, in a private ceremony at the Christ Episcopal Church in Cody, Wyoming. Now, a close friend and musician, Matt Kinman, has helped plan a public memorial to honor his friend on Nov. 12 at the Circle P Ranch in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee.
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Kinman is encouraging the public and fellow musicians to attend to honor Bell during the all-day event. Attendees are encouraged to perform songs and share memories and stories as a tribute to Bell, who was found dead in Tucson, Arizona on Aug. 26 after he had gone missing on Aug. 20 while on a trip with Kinman.
An autopsy revealed Bell’s cause of death was the result of an accidental fentanyl overdose. Additionally, Bell also suffered from arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease as well as bipolar disorder, according to his manager, Brian Buchanan. “Luke fought this as hard as he could, but the disease got the better of him,” said Buchanan. “When he was beating the disease, he was the sweetest and most generous guy. He’s found peace now and there’s some comfort.”
Following his death, Bell’s family said, “We have lost our beloved son, brother, and friend and we are heartbroken. Luke had a gentle heart, a wanderer’s spirit, and a musical gift that he was fortunate to share with us and the world. We are so grateful to his friends and fans for embracing Luke and his music. We would like to thank all of Luke’s fans, friends, and family who have been sharing stories and photos of happy times with him.”
The statement continued, “Unfortunately Luke suffered from the disease of mental illness, which progressed after his father’s death in 2015 Luke was supported through his disease by a community of loving family and friends. Despite this, he was unable to receive the help he needed to ease his pain. Our hearts go out to the millions of people affected by mental illness who, like us, understand the devastating disappointment of a system that consistently fails to provide caring solutions to those who suffer.”
Born Jan. 27, 1990, in Lexington, Kentucky, Bell started out playing local bars in college before moving to Austin, Texas to record his self-titled debut, which he produced himself, in 2012. Bell later relocated to Cody, Wyoming where he wrote and recorded his second album, Don’t Mind If I Do, in 2014, which was followed by his second self-titled album in 2016 after he settled in Nashville.
Throughout his career, Bell performed and opened for country legends Willie Nelson, Hank Williams Jr., and Dwight Yoakam.
Bell released his final single, “Jealous Guy,” in January 2021.
Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Tree Town Music Festival