TobyMac’s 21-year-old son, Truett Foster Mckeehan, died suddenly at his home Wednesday and the Grammy Award-winning artist shared a tribute to his eldest child and a declaration of faith despite the tragedy.
“Truett Foster Mckeehan had joy that took the room when he entered. He was a magnetic son and brother and friend. If you met him, you knew him, you remembered him. His smile, his laugh, the encouragement he offered with words or even without. He had an untamable grand personality and dreams to match. And he hated being put in a box,” the grieving father wrote on Instagram Thursday.
TobyMac said his son was “a true artist.” During the past few years, McKeehan released songs and videos online under various stage names, such as Shiloh, truDog and TRU. McKeehan was not a Christian artist but he did collaborate with his father on several tracks throughout the years.
“Truett always had a soft spot for God. The Bible moved him. His heart was warm to the things of his King. He was by no means a cookie-cutter Christian but give me a believer who fights to keep believing. Give me a broken man who recognizes his need for a Savior every time. That’s who Truett was and how he should be remembered,” TobyMac continued in his post.
The young performer played his first live show at the Factory in Franklin, Tennessee, just a week ago. TobyMac said that was the last time he saw his son because he left the next day to go on tour.
“As I stood in the audience and watched my son bring joy to a room, I was as proud as a ‘pop’ (as Tru called me) could be. It was the culminating moment of a dream that he had since he was 12. It couldn’t have been sweeter,” the “I Just Need You” singer said. “Our music, and what we say lyrically couldn’t be more different, but the outcome was much the same … offering a room full of people a few minutes of joy in a crazy world.”
The 55-year-old artist also shared his last text exchange with McKeehan before declaring what he and his wife, Amanda Levy McKeehan, believe about God despite the tragedy.
“My wife and I would want the world to know this: We don’t follow God because we have some sort of under-the-table deal with Him, like, we’ll follow you if you bless us. We follow God because we love Him. It’s our honor. He is the God of the hills and the valleys. And He is beautiful above all things," TobyMac testified.
McKeehan died at his home either Tuesday night or Wednesday morning, a representative confirmed on Thursday.
The cause of death is not yet known, but the Nashville Fire Department responded to an emergency call to his home for a person in cardiac arrest.
"Truett did pass away at home in the Nashville area sometime Tuesday night or Wednesday morning," the representative said in a statement to USA Today Thursday morning about the 21-year-old aspiring rapper's unexpected death.
TobyMac left Canada, where he was scheduled to be on tour for a week, to be home with his wife and four other children in Franklin, Tennessee.
"Cause of death has not been determined. Toby was traveling back from Canada and did not get home to be with his family until after midnight last night so there is no statement. We just ask that everyone please be respectful of their privacy during this time and allow them to grieve their loss," the representative added.
Many artists in the Christian music industry have offered their prayers and support for the industry veteran.
“@tobymac and his family have lost their son and brother and it’s just so heartbreaking. Toby has lifted so many of us up with his music for so long, may we all return the favor and lift them up right now. My family has stopped a few different times today to pray for this family who is hurting and experiencing unspeakable tragedy,” singer Matthew West shared.
TobyMac’s former artist, Jamie Grace, wrote a dedication to McKeeham whom she considered a younger brother to her.
“Someday I’ll see you again,” she wrote.