Luke Bell's family shares of country singer's 'gentle heart,' struggle with mental illness

Amy Haneline
USA TODAY

Luke Bell's family and friends are mourning the country singer after he was found dead in Tucson, Arizona, last week.

"We have lost our beloved son, brother and friend and we are heartbroken," his family said in a statement to USA TODAY, provided by publicist Nicole Miller, who is representing Bell's family.

"Luke had a gentle heart, a wanderer’s spirit and a musical gift that he was fortunate to share with us and the world. We are so grateful to his friends and fans for embracing Luke and his music," the family said while thanking his fans for sharing memories.

They also said that Bell, 32, suffered from the disease of mental illness, which progressed after his father died in 2015.

"Luke was supported through his disease by a community of loving family and friends. Despite this, he was unable to receive the help he needed to ease his pain," they said. "Our hearts go out to the millions of people affected by mental illness who, like us, understand the devastating disappointment of a system that consistently fails to provide caring solutions to those who suffer."

Luke Bell death:Country singer known for hits 'Where Ya Been?' and 'Jealous Guy,' found dead at 32

Luke Bell's family said the country music artist suffered from the disease of mental illness. Here, he performs at the Tree Town Music Festival in Iowa in 2017.

The family asked for privacy as they grieve Bell and said they are comforted that he "is finally free and at peace."

Bell, known for his songs "Where Ya Been?" and "The Bullfighter," was found dead Aug. 26, the Tucson Police Department confirmed to USA TODAY in a statement Tuesday. Bell was officially identified on Monday. 

"The investigation is ongoing at the moment," police said at the time.

Artist Matt Kinman, a close friend of Bell, confirmed the musician's death to Saving Country Music, which was the first to report the news. According to the outlet, Bell allegedly went missing on Aug. 20 in Tucson. 

USA TODAY reached out to the Pima County Medical Examiner's office for further details. 

Born in Lexington, Kentucky, on Jan. 27, 1990, Bell got his start in the music industry while playing at a local bar during his college years, according to Saving Country Music. He was raised in Cody, Wyoming, and his music led him to spend some time in Tennessee, Texas and Louisiana. 

In Nashville, Tennessee, he recorded his 2014 album "Don't Mind If I Do," which he released on Bandcamp. In 2016, he released a self-titled album. In 2021, Bell released his latest song "Jealous Guy." 

If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, call the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline which provides confidential 24/7 support by dialing 9-8-8.

More:Naomi Judd autopsy confirms singer died by suicide, family asks for 'respectful privacy'

Contributing: Pamela Avila