Country music fans are likely aware that singer Craig Morgan is a bereaved father, and that one of his more recent songs is about the heartache of his son's death. What some people might not know is the story behind that loss — which happened back in 2016, when his son, Jerry, was only 19 years old.
So what happened to Craig's son anyway? Let's take a closer look at the circumstances surrounding the accident that unexpectedly claimed his son's life.
What happened to Craig Morgan's son?
The tragic incident happened on July 10, 2016, when 19-year-old Jerry Greer went missing after a tubing accident. Jerry was being pulled behind a boat on Kentucky Lake in Tennessee — not that far away from his family's home in Dickson — when he went under. Although Jerry was wearing a life jacket at the time, he didn't resurface.
A large and highly-coordinated search ensued — which led to Jerry's body being found the next day.
"We just had to find him," Karen Greer, Jerry's mother and Craig's wife, told People in 2018. "We just had to find his body. We had to deal with Alex, Kyle and Wyatt. That was it. Jerry was gone, and we knew that. I wanted him found. I didn’t want to get a call six months later.”
Craig's song "The Father, My Son and the Holy Ghost" was about his son.
In 2019, Craig released his first new music since the death of his son — whom his family had fostered as a baby and adopted as a young children — and he did so with a single titled, "The Father, My Son and the Holy Ghost."
“Its simplicity embraces the truth of the lyrics of the song,” Craig told CMT, of the accompanying music video. “I hope this video lifts people up. For anyone who has experienced loss, I want this song to give them the desire to pursue their faith and to have hope.”
The song ended up reaching the number one spot on iTunes' all-genre chart — thanks in part, to fellow country singer Blake Shelton, who encouraged others to support it.
"I would gladly give up my spot on country radio to get this song on. Wow @cmorganmusic you blow me away brother," Blake tweeted in September. "There’s nothing easy or fun about writing a song like this but sometimes it’s just something you gotta do."
I would gladly give up my spot on country radio to get this song on.. Wow @cmorganmusic you blow me away brother.. There’s nothing easy or fun about writing a song like this but sometimes it’s just something you gotta do. https://t.co/QXJ2wiZ4cI— Blake Shelton (@blakeshelton) September 9, 2019
"It hurts for me to sing it,'' Craig said during an appearance on the Today Show. "It's not a song that I enjoy singing. But I do see that it's important that I do this. I'm a big believer and I think this is what God wants me to do, so I'm doing it in spite of the pain."
Craig first performed "The Father, My Son and the Holy Ghost" at the Grand Ole Opry in July before releasing it to country radio. An emotional performance on the Kelly Clarkson Show also helped catapult the song to its number one spot.
In January, Craig posted a heartbreaking tribute to his son on his birthday.
On what would have been Jerry's 23rd birthday, Craig took to Facebook with a series of photos to pay tribute to his late son.
"23 years ago today he was born and God gave him to us. Seems like just yesterday we were wrestling at turkey camp and laying on the roof looking at stars loving and laughing at everything in life," he captioned the post. "With Jerry there were more good days than bad, more laughter than anger, more sunshine than rain, His time on earth affected everyone he met in a positive way."
What happened to Craig's son is something no parent should have to endure — and the fact that he was able to write and continues to perform, "The Father, My Son and the Holy Ghost," speaks to both Craig's incredible bravery and Jerry's lasting impact. Our thoughts are with Craig and his family as they continue to grieve and honor the son they lost too soon.