In between performances and handing out awards, the Academy of Country Music (ACM) Awards took a moment to honor Joey Feek. Joey, who made up one half of the country duo Joey+Rory, died at the age of 40 on March 4 from a long battle with cancer.
During the tribute, Darius Rucker and Martini McBride reflected on Joey’s life in a moving speech.
“Joey was more than a wonderful singer and an ACM winner along with her husband, Rory [Feek],” McBride said. “She was a beloved mom, daughter, family member and friend.”
Rucker chimed in: “Of all the different ways we could honor Joey, we think that what would mean the most to Joey and her family is just one more time for all of us — all of her fans and all of us who loved her — to give her a big round of applause.”
As a photo of the “If I Needed You” singer flashed on the screen, the audience got to their feet and clapped for the late singer.
According to Entertainment Tonight, Joey’s husband, Rory, and her young daughter, Indiana Feek, weren’t at the ACM Awards. Instead, her step-daughter Hopie Feek and a friend attended the show.
Rory, who often takes to his blog, This Life I Live, to share updates on his family, hasn’t commented on the ACM Awards tribute. But he did write a new post Monday saying he couldn’t believe it’s been a month since Joey’s death.
“I feel so many emotions all at the same time. Blessed. Lost. Proud. Scared. Encouraged. Tired. Thankful,” he wrote. “I have a lot of good people around me and they pour love all over Indy and i. it’s hard to be in this old house without Joey, but I know she wants us here. And I know it’s where we need to be.”
He continued, “I miss my wife … I miss my best friend. I miss her voice and her laugh and her eyes and her smile. It’s still hard for me to imagine that she’s not here, and she’s never coming back.”
As previously reported, Rory recently shared a Facebook photo of his wife’s grave, writing in the caption: “A bright sunrise will contradict the heavy log that weighs you down.” Joey was buried last month in the family’s Tennessee backyard.