In a new interview for People, country icon Luke Bryan opened up about the many tragedies he's faced over the last 25 years.
As fans know, in 1996, his older brother Chris was killed in a car accident at age 26. In 2007, his older sister Kelly, 39, died suddenly of natural causes. And just seven years later, her husband Lee, 46, died from a heart attack, leaving behind their three children. Bryan and his wife Caroline have since welcomed the three to their family, and have been raising them.
"I've had so many tragedies in my life," Bryan shares with People. "It's almost like you don't want to tell the story because you don't want to feel like you're out there craving sympathy. You’re never through your grief. You’re always breathing it. You truly never get over it. You truly never settle in your mind that it's happened. I mean, it's always there."
In his new docu-series, Luke Bryan: My Dirt Road Diary, which debuts on Aug. 6 on iMDB TV, the singer discusses his musical history, and the loss he has faced – and how that's led him to find a new purpose.
He says, "If I can inspire people to move on from tragedy, hopefully by my behaviour, that's what life's all about for me."
Bryan also sees his late relatives as his guardian angels: "Maybe Chris and Kelly and Lee have moved some puzzle pieces around to make my life so fortunate. When I say my prayers at night, I have to say, 'Thank y'all for looking after us down here.'"
As for his career, Bryan says he appreciates the many "blessings" he's found there, and has nothing left to prove.
"It's a really special place I'm in, because I don't really feel I need to go reinvent something to complete my life as a country singer," he tells People. "I've done everything I've ever wanted to do in music."
In fact, anything from here on out is "complete gravy for me. I mean, my true focus is to continue to work hard and write great songs. I may try to chase down a little thing to show them, hey, don't forget I can do that. So I could get real creative within country music. But I'm about getting on stage, making music for the fans and really being content with that."
"I'm truly having more fun on stage right now than I ever have, because I know I can do it," he added. "The first three years of headlining, you don't know if you can do it. You have to go prove to yourself that you can do it, and that's very challenging, and it's a lot of pressure. All of that pressure affects your ability to be your best. Now, the lack of pressure can truly make me my best. I get to enjoy and be totally comfortable in the moment — and being totally comfortable allows my personality to come out, which is what people truly want to see."
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