He was on the brink of Nashville fame before he went missing. Now country music's next big star is dead.
Luke Bell, 32, was found dead after going missing for more than a week, the Washington Examiner reported. Though no cause of death has been released, the country musician reportedly suffered from bipolar disorder and recently had a medication change.
Bell, a Kentucky native who had moved to Wyoming before settling in Nashville, was found dead in Phoenix, Arizona Monday. The news was confirmed by Matt Kinman, a friend and fellow Country musician.
Kinman said he believed the bipolar medication may have "played a role" in Bell's death. However, that is still speculation as authorities continue to investigate what led to Bell's death.
The musician began his career after dropping out of the University of Wyoming to pursue his dream. Bell moved to Austin, Texas, and plugged away at his craft by playing in saloons and honky-tonks.
It was after Bell moved to Nashville that he found success. He was signed by the music management and marketing firm Thirty Tigers. His first self-titled album won him acclaim and opened doors to collaborations with country music legends like Willie Nelson and Dwight Yoakam.
In a 2016 interview, Bell seemed optimistic and was proud of his success. "To be honest, I live in the day, and I count smiles," he said. "That's it. Listen, half the time, I end up drinking beer with my neighbors. Life's not that bad."
Fans loved Bell's "authentic" sound. His voice and the music he made were more like the country stars of yesteryear and stood out in stark contrast to the mass-produced sound of the stars of today.
The loss of a person with so much potential leaves hearts heavy and a void forever unfilled. There's no telling how high Bell's star would have risen or how deeply he would have impacted the industry and the genre -- and that loss is second only to the human tragedy of such a loss.