Singer-songwriter Luke Bell has died at the age of 32. The country artist was first reported missing in Arizona on August 20.
Bell’s close friend, musician Matt Kinman, confirmed the news to Saving Country Music. Kinman was with Bell when he went missing. The singer was discovered on Monday “not far from where he disappeared, and in a manner we all feared he would be when we first heard the news,” the blog notes.
Kinman told the outlet that Bell severely struggled with bipolar disorder. After virtually disappearing from the public eye years ago, Bell’s mental health seemed to improve due to medication and treatment. “But while out West recently, Luke’s mental state took a turn for the worse. While in Tucson with Matt Kinman, he ran off while Matt went to get something to eat,” the blog shares.
An official cause of death has not yet been revealed.
Bell, a Wyoming native, caused a stir in the country music scene in 2014 with his debut album Don’t Mind if I Do. He signed a record deal with Thirty Tigers in 2016. Later that year, he dropped his self-titled album which received critical acclaim. While promoting the record, he talked about tuning out the noise on his seemingly inevitable rise to stardom.
“To be honest, I live in the day, and I count smiles,” Bell told The Boot in a 2016 interview. “That’s it. Listen, half the time, I end up drinking beer with my neighbors. Life’s not that bad. The downside, in some ways, is I don’t have a wife and kids, but at the same time, it’s pretty ideal right now. I just travel around to other cities and hang out with other people… The goal is to have high hopes and low expectations and have a good time.”
Despite praise for his work, Bell’s career became stagnant as mental health issues emerged. A tour was planned, but it never went off. He performed infrequently and resurfaced in 2018 when he won Best Honky Tonk Male at the Ameripolitan Awards in Memphis, Tennessee.
“Luke Bell’s struggles are now over, but the legacy of his music remains. And hopefully, like so many troubled troubadours before him, Luke Bell is just beginning to find its audience, his worthy appreciation, and his deserved legacy,” writes Saving Country Music.
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