Backroad Anthem lost more than just a bandmate when Craig Strickland died. The country band’s 29-year-old lead singer was found dead on Monday, January 4, after being reported missing seven days ago. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol confirmed his death to Us Weekly.
“Today we lost our brother, our best friend, our bandmate,” the musicians posted on Instagram and Facebook, along with a photo of all six members — Strickland, Toby Freeman, Eric Dysart, Josh Bryant, Brandon Robold and Isaac Senty — smiling happily together. “Craig was the most amazing person whose passion for life couldn’t be matched. Thankful to know he fought his way from the water to a hill and was lying in the shape of a cross on his back looking up to his Heavenly Father.”
“Today, he is smiling down on us and we know he will always be with us. He will always be here to help guide us along the way,” the message continued. “We love you Craig Strickland and we will forever miss you!”
The Arkansas-based group also thanked friends, family and fans for their support, and quoted a Bible verse.
The singer’s wife, Helen Strickland, revealed details of her husband’s final moments on Monday. “The night of the accident he fought his way out of the water and up a hill before the stages of hypothermia set in,” she shared on Instagram along with a photo of the couple smiling as they embraced. “He experienced no pain in his final moments and simply felt like he was falling asleep. They found him lying in the shape of a cross looking up to his Father.”
Strickland’s body was found following a search of the Kaw Lake area north of Tulsa, Oklahoma. The musician and good friend Chase Morland went missing after embarking on a duck hunting trip during winter storm Goliath. Search and rescue found Morland’s body, as well as the duo’s capsized boat, on Monday, December 28. They also found Strickland’s beloved dog, Sam, who refused to leave Morland’s side until searchers found him. He was 22.
Just prior to departing for their trip, Morland made a cryptic tweet on Saturday, December 26, that Craig retweeted: “In case we don’t come back, @BackroadCraig and I are going right through Winter Storm Goliath to kill ducks in Oklahoma. #IntoTheStorm.”
According to The Weather Channel, Goliath was the deadliest storm system of 2015, and has killed at least 50 people.
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