3-y-o son of country star dies in tragic drowning accident: 'He is with his Heavenly Father’

Country star Granger Smith pictured with his son, River.
Country star Granger Smith pictured with his son, River. | Instagram

Country music star Granger Smith revealed that his youngest son, 3-year-old River Kelly Smith, died following a tragic drowning accident at their home.

Smith shared the news Thursday on Instagram, telling his fans: “I have to deliver unthinkable news. 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,” he wrote. “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. Riv was special. Everyone that met him knew that immediately."

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“The joy he brought to our lives cannot be expressed and his light will be forever in our hearts," he added.

“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, added a photo to her own Instagram as well, writing: “Nothing can prepare a mother to deliver this kind of news.”

She shared the same caption to her photograph as her husband did, asking that “in lieu of flowers or gifts, please send donations to Dell Children’s Medical Center in River’s name.”

“The doctors, nurses and staff have been incredible,” Amber and Granger both added in their posts.

Smith’s rep confirmed to PEOPLE that River’s death was due to a drowning accident at home.

River had just turned three in May. “Someone is 3 today! Happy birthday to our fearless, tractor and Lightening McQueen loving, red-headed, dare devil! He keeps us laughing, definitely keeps me on my toes, gives the best hugs and is as sweet as honey! We love our little Riv,” Amber wrote on Instagram at the time.

The Smiths are also parents to son Lincoln Monarch, 5, and daughter London, 7.


On social media, the Smiths received an outpouring of support from the country music community following the devastating news, including from Carly Pearce, Dan + Shay, Lauren Alaina, Morgan Evans and Russell Dickerson.

“I am so, so sorry. We will make a donation in his honor and will encourage our friends to do the same. Sending all my love and prayers,” Alaina wrote.

Fellow musicians and fathers Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean also expressed their sorrow over the news and offered prayers.

“Many prayers. So Sorry,” Bryan wrote while Aldean said, “I can’t imagine what y’all are going thru. Praying for u and ur family brother. We are heartbroken for u guys.”

Maren Morris also sent her prayers, writing, “I am so, so sorry. Thinking of you and your family at this time.”

Kane Brown, who is expecting his first child with wife Katelyn, said: “I’m here for you if you need anything at all bro just hit me up.”

Professional beach volleyball player Morgan Miller, whose 19-month-old daughter Emeline Grier drowned in a pool last June, also reacted to the news, writing: “My heart breaks. Another baby gone too soon.”

On Instagram, Miller urged her followers to take necessary water safety precautions, including swimming lessons and an alarm system for residential pools that detects drowning.

“Add layers of protection,” she wrote, before adding a video of her 8-month-old son Easton being put face-first into the pool during his swimming lessons and then turning over on his own to float on his back.

“It can truly happen to anyone,” Morgan wrote alongside the clip. “I urge you to make your babies safer! Sign them up for swim lessons.”

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