Luke Bell’s family spoke out in a heartbreaking statement after the country artist’s unexpected death. Earlier this week, Bell was confirmed dead more than a week after he went missing in Tucson, Arizona. He was 32.
Bell’s family shared a statement with PEOPLE on Friday (September 2), stating that they’re “heartbroken” by the loss of their son, brother and friend, and opening up about Bell’s struggle with mental illness.
“Unfortunately Luke suffered from the disease of mental illness, which progressed after his father's death in 2015. Luke was supported through his disease by a community of loving family and friends. Despite this, he was unable to receive the help he needed to ease his pain,” the family’s statement to PEOPLE said. “(Our) hearts go out to the millions of people affected by mental illness who, like us, understand the devastating disappointment of a system that consistently fails to provide caring solutions to those who suffer.”
Matt Kinman, an artist and a friend of Bell’s, confirmed to the Saving Country Music blog that Bell was found on Monday (August 29), not far from where he disappeared in the southern Arizona city on Saturday, August 20. The blog noted in its report on Tuesday (August 30) that Bell, a Kentucky-born, Wyoming-raised musician, suffered a “severe battle” with bipolar disorder. Bell’s friends, fans and fellow artists — including Margo Price and Joshua Hedley — mourned his loss on social media. Saving Country Music’s report deemed Bell “one of the most authentic and magnetizing artists to grace the country music art form in the modern era.”