Those of you familiar with Contemporary Christian Music are no doubt aware of TobyMac.
Toby McKeehan began his music career as leader of the rap/rock/soul juggernaut DC Talk in the late 80’s.
The group peaked with a #12 spot on Casey’s Top 40 — courtesy of 1996’s “Between You and Me” — and a mammoth deal with Virgin.
Following their next studio album, Supernatural, each of the group’s three members embarked on a solo career.
Toby’s been flying high ever since — he’s released 7 studio albums, sold millions of records, and won multiple Grammys.
But Tuesday night — or, perhaps, Wednesday morning — brought an all-time low.
The singer’s first-born son — 21-year-old Truett — passed away at home.
As per a statement to the USA Today network by a family representative:
Truett did pass away at home in the Nashville area sometime Tuesday night or Wednesday morning. Cause of death has not been determined.
Reps from the Medical Examiner’s Office also offered information to The Tennessean:
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.
Truett was himself an aspiring rapper, having released music on multiple platforms under the names Shiloh, TRU, and Truett Foster. He’d also appeared with his famous dad on several tracks over the years.
As relayed by People, “[Toby] recently penned ‘Scars’ after his eldest son left home to pursue his dreams.”
From the song:
“When life cuts so deep try and remember, you are not alone, we’ve all been there, scars come with livin’. You are not alone, we’ve all been there. So lift your head, lift your head, lift your head to where your help comes from.”
Toby explained the pain of change to The Tennessean last October:
“[Truett] moved to L.A. and he’s making music and he’s doing his thing. But to watch him go through that, and watch him get bruised, it’s not easy. So that’s one of the ways life has changed. In that song, I just want him to know he’s not alone.”
See Toby’s moving tribute to Truett as he shares his last moment with his son:
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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. He expressed himself through the music he made. And by made I mean, written, recorded, produced, mixed, and designed the art. All of it. A true artist. His first show was a week ago, and it was nothing short of electric. Everyone felt it, everyone knew it. He could’ve easily taken the easy route and put music out when he was 12, 14, 16, even 18, but he always said he wanted to live some life and have something to say before he did it. He didn’t want to be a child star, he wanted to be a man with scars and a story to tell. I always admired, respected and encouraged that stand. 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. My last moment with Truett in person was at his first show this past Thursday at the Factory in Franklin, Tennessee. I had to leave the next morning very early to fly and start our Canadian 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. 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. Our last text exchange is shared above (swipe). 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.
Their last text exchange, as shared by Toby:
We never know if today is a bridge to tomorrow or the end of yesterday’s road. Let us all remember to tell those we love how we feel, while they can feel our gratitude.
I’m sure the McKeehan family will be grateful for your prayers.
“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.”
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