Joey Martin Feek, of the husband and wife duo, Joey + Rory, died of cervical cancer. She leaves behind her husband and partner of 14 years, Rory, their two year-old daughter Indiana, and step-daughters Heidi and Hopie. She was 40 years old.
Feek was born in Alexandria, Indiana, and made her first public singing appearance at the age of six, when she performed Dolly Parton’s “Coat of Many Colors” at a grade school talent show. She moved to Nashville in 1998 and signed to Sony Records two years later. As often happens, the album was shelved when the label underwent a restructuring.
The spotlight finally found Joey + Rory in 2008, when the two auditioned for CMT’s Can You Duet? show. Although they had each spent years focusing on their individual careers, they proved to be a strong duo and ultimately finished third in the competition, laying the groundwork for a collaborative career.
After the show wrapped up, the pair signed a record deal with Sugar Hill Records and released a debut album, The Life of a Song, that same year. The album hit the country Top 10, thanks in part to the twanging single, “Cheater, Cheater,” and earned the duo three nominations (and one win) from the 2010 Academy of Country Music Awards.
When she wasn’t on the road, Feek could often be found at Marcy Jo’s Mealhouse, a diner she co-owned with Rory’s sister, Marcy Jo. Here, she found contentment helping serve the locals what she called, “Change your life food.”
Throughout their career, the Feeks were been open about their faith, and in 2013, the couple’s first gospel album, Inspired: Songs of Faith & Family, was released. It was followed later the same year by the album Made to Last. A cover album, Country Classics: A Tapestry of Our Musical Heritage, came out in 2014.
Around this time, and with his wife pregnant with the couple’s first daughter, Rory started a blog This Life I Live. It was in some ways a means of therapy, as the couple’s real life ups and downs were shared, always filtered through faith. It was here we learned the couple’s daughter Indiana was diagnosed with Down syndrome, and also here that Rory shared the news that his wife’s cervical cancer had returned.
In October 2015, the couple confirmed the cancer was terminal, and Joey entered hospice care a month later. Joey + Rory continued with plans to release another religious album. The very personal Hymns That Are Important to Us arrived in February 2016.
Joey Feeks passed away in her hometown Alexandria, Indiana surrounded by her family and loved ones.