During Bentley’s performance at CMA Fest in Nashville, the “Free and Easy” crooner, 43, called out to the country music community and dedicated his hit song “I Hold On” to Smith, 39. “He’s going through a tough time right now,” Bentley told the crowd, according to an onlooker.
Bentley’s tribute comes less than a week after Smith revealed the devastating news of the loss of his son on Thursday, June 6.
“I have to deliver unthinkable news,” he captioned an Instagram photo of himself hugging the toddler. “We’ve lost our youngest son, River Kelly Smith. Following a tragic accident, and despite doctor’s best efforts, he was unable to be revived. Amber and I made the decision to say our last goodbyes and donate his organs so that other children will be given a second chance at life. Our family is devastated and heartbroken, but we take solace in knowing he is with his Heavenly Father.”
Smith continued: “Riv was special. Everyone that met him knew that immediately. The joy he brought to our lives cannot be expressed and his light will be forever in our hearts. If there are words to say more, I cannot find them in this moment. Love the ones close to you. There has never been a more difficult moment for us than this.”
Smith’s wife, Amber Smith, also took to Instagram with a similar sentiment. “Nothing can prepare a mother to deliver this kind of news,” she captioned a picture along with her husband’s words.
Later that day, a rep for the “Backroad Song” artist confirmed to Us that the little boy’s cause of death “was a tragic drowning at home.”
Members of the entertainment industry flooded the Smith family with words of condolences following the heartbreaking news.
“I cant imagine what y’all are going thru. Praying for u [sic] and ur [sic] family brother. We are heartbroken for u guys,” Jason Aldean wrote. Maren Morris added: “I am so, so sorry. Thinking of you and your family at this time.”
Olympic skier Bode Miller’s wife, Morgan Miller, sent her well wishes to Granger on Thursday, nearly one year after the couple’s daughter Emeline drowned at 19 months. “My heart breaks,” Morgan, 32, wrote on Instagram. “Another baby gone too soon.” She later followed it up with a PSA for parents about the risks of drowning.
Granger and Amber wed in February 2010, also share daughter London, 7, and son Lincoln, 5.
With reporting by Amanda Champagne
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