Country music fans first got to know Joey + Rory in 2008, when the husband-and-wife duo appeared on the CMT singing competition Can You Duet, but they were making music — and being adorable together — for years before their third-place finish on the show and their subsequent signing with Sugar Hill Records.
Rory Feek and Joey Martin Feek were married in 2002; in February of 2014, they welcomed their baby girl, Indiana, into their family. Prior to their Can You Duet days, both Joey and Rory Feek released solo albums, and Rory Feek penned hits for Clay Walker, Blake Shelton and Jimmy Wayne, among others. Between 2008 and Joey Feek’s death in 2016, they released seven studio albums and one holiday album; their final record was a dream project of Joey Feek’s: an album of hymns.
The Feeks are known for their strong faith, but one thing proved tough for even them to handle: Joey Feek’s diagnosis with Stage IV cervical cancer. The Feeks first revealed in June of 2014 that Joey Feek had undergone surgery to remove cancerous areas from her body. One year later, in June of 2015, they shared that her cancer had returned – and, this time around, it was worse.
Joey Feek underwent a 10-hour surgery at the end of July, at Chicago’s Cancer Treatment Centers of America, returned home for a bit, and then went back to Chicago’s CTCA for chemotherapy and radiation. She was scheduled to begin more chemo in late October, but after a CT scan revealed that two quarter-sized tumors had already appeared in the same area that the doctors had been treating aggressively, and that several more tumors had appeared in her abdomen, the Feeks made the decision to cease treatment.
“We came home,” Rory Feek wrote at the time. “Not to die. But to live. To put our hands in each other’s and sit out on the back porch and watch the sun set as our sweet little baby girl plays on a blanket in front of us. To bask in the glory of the beautiful life He’s blessed us with and try not to question why we can’t have more of it together. And why He is allowing this to happen.”
Joey Feek died on March 4, 2016. The photo gallery below contains snapshots of many sweet moments in the couple’s life together: