Christian rapper TobyMac’s oldest child has died, a representative confirmed, but few details were released immediately.
The rapper opened up about the sudden death of Truett Foster McKeehan, 21, in a heartfelt statement to the USA Today Network — Tennessee, where he recalled how his son had “joy that took the room when he entered.”
“He was a magnetic son and brother and friend,” he continued. “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.”
TobyMac continued to describe his son’s passions for music and the Bible, noting “Truett always had a soft spot for God.”
“He was by no means a cookie cutter Christian but give me a believer who fights to keep believing,” he added. “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’s full statement can be found at the bottom of this article.
Truett was an aspiring rapper who released songs and videos online as Truett Foster, truDog, TRU and Shiloh.
“Truett did pass away at home in the Nashville area sometime Tuesday night or Wednesday morning,” the rep said in a statement Thursday morning to the USA TODAY Network – Tennessee.
The Davidson County Medical Examiner’s office confirmed he died Wednesday.
“Cause of death has not been determined,” TobyMac’s publicist said in a statement. “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.”
TobyMac broke away in the middle of a weeklong tour in Canada to join his wife and other children in Franklin, Tennessee. He collaborated with his oldest on several tracks for TobyMac albums.
TobyMac song ‘Scars’ details relationship with Truett McKeehan
Last year, TobyMac released a song called “Scars” that reflected on how his relationship with his eldest son started changing when McKeehan left home.
“Now you won’t take my phone calls, You won’t text me back at all, I just wanna see you, I can’t stand to see you gone,” TobyMac raps in the song.
The artist told The Tennessean last year that it was tough to see his oldest child living on his own.
“Up to now, (our home has) been a safe harbor, a place of love. And now, you know, I have my first kid leave home. He’s going and facing this world. … To watch and see him get cut and get bruised, it’s not easy.”
McKeehan’s friends started posting memorial messages on the last post on the truettfoster Instagram page Wednesday afternoon.
“I hope you are having the time of your life with the big guy in the sky,” one wrote.
Another message read: “Love you Tru you lit up a room and you were always so excited about life. You touched a lot of people and I will always remember how you made me feel. I just know you and the big homie are up there jamming right now.”
TobyMac’s concerts set for Thursday in Edmonton and Friday in Calgary have been postponed.
TobyMac’s full statement on his son’s death
Here is TobyMac’s full statement to the USA TODAY Network – Tennessean, regarding the death of his son:
“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…
“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.”
SOURCE: USA Today; Nashville Tennessean, Brad Schmitt