Nine days after he went missing, country singer Luke Bell was found dead in Arizona on Monday, August 29. He was 32.
The “Sometimes” artist, who battled bipolar disorder, vanished in Tucson while his friend and fellow musician Matt Kinman stopped to get something to eat, Kinman told Saving Country Music. Bell’s body was found nearby just over one week later.
Though an official cause of death has not yet been revealed pending an autopsy, the singer-songwriter’s business manager, Brian Buchanan, said in a statement that Bell’s bipolar disorder “got the better of him.”
“Luke fought this as hard as he could, but the disease got the better of him,” Buchanan told TMZ on Wednesday, August 31. “When he was beating the disease, he was the sweetest and most generous guy. He’s found peace now and there’s some comfort.”
Bell and Kinman, who frequently collaborated and performed together, were in Arizona “to work down here, play some music and he just took off,” Kinman recalled to Saving Country Music about his friend’s disappearance. “He was in the back of the truck. I went in to get something to eat. I came out, and he’d got out of the truck and left.” TMZ reported that the “Cold Icy Mountain” singer searched for Bell for days before his body was discovered.
Though Bell was originally from Wyoming, he moved to Nashville to kick off his career in country music.
“It was a very different route to take; there aren’t any musicians in my family,” the “Where Ya Been?” artist told The Boot in 2016. “College really wasn’t doing it for me, and I was looking for an independent platform to go learn, and music was that.”
While his family was “skeptical” at the time, he recalled, laughing, “by the time I made my first record, everyone was really supportive, and they’ve helped me out a lot; they’re all on my team.”
Despite any initial skepticism from his loved ones back home, Bell went on to make a name for himself as a country artist, touring alongside such big names as Willie Nelson, Hank Williams Jr. and Dwight Yoakam.
“To be honest, I live in the day, and I count smiles. That’s it,” the musician told The Boot at the time. “Life’s not that bad. The downside, in some ways, is I don’t have a wife and kids, but at the same time, it’s pretty ideal right now. I just travel around to other cities and hang out with other people … The goal is to have high hopes and low expectations and have a good time.”
Keep scrolling to learn more about Bell’s disappearance and death: