Truett Foster McKeehan, Son of Christian Rapper TobyMac, Dead at 21

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It's a heartbreaking day for TobyMac.

The Christian rapper's eldest child, Truett Foster McKeehan, died on Wednesday, a representative for TobyMac told ET in a statement on Thursday in addition to a heartwarming Instagram post. He was 21.

"Truett did pass away at home in the Nashville area," the statement read. "Cause of death has not been determined ... we just ask that everyone please be respectful of their privacy during this time and allow them to grieve their loss."

TobyMac released his own lengthy statement to ET, sharing that his son "had joy that took the room when he entered."

"He was a magnetic son and brother and friend. If you met him, you knew him, you remembered him," he said. "His smile, his laugh, the encouragement he offered with words or even without. He had an untamable grand personality and dreams to match. And he hated being put in a box."

"He expressed himself through the music he made. And by made I mean, written, recorded, produced, mixed and designed the art. All of it. A true artist," he continued. "His first show was a week ago, and it was nothing short of electric. Everyone felt it, everyone knew it. He could've easily taken the easy route and put music out when he was 12, 14, 16, even 18, but he always said he wanted to live some life and have something to say before he did it. He didn’t want to be a child star, he wanted to be a man with scars and a story to tell. I always admired, respected and encouraged that stand."

TobyMac
TobyMac

TobyMac added that Truett always had "a soft spot for God."

"The Bible moved him. His heart was warm to the things of his King. He was by no means a cookie cutter Christian but give me a believer who fights to keep believing," he shared. "Give me a broken man who recognizes his need for a Savior every time. That’s who Truett was and how he should be remembered."

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Truett Foster Mckeehan had joy that took the room when he entered. He was a magnetic son and brother and friend. If you met him, you knew him, you remembered him. His smile, his laugh, the encouragement he offered with words or even without. He had an untamable grand personality and dreams to match. And he hated being put in a box. He expressed himself through the music he made. And by made I mean, written, recorded, produced, mixed, and designed the art. All of it. A true artist. His first show was a week ago, and it was nothing short of electric. Everyone felt it, everyone knew it. He could’ve easily taken the easy route and put music out when he was 12, 14, 16, even 18, but he always said he wanted to live some life and have something to say before he did it. He didn’t want to be a child star, he wanted to be a man with scars and a story to tell. I always admired, respected and encouraged that stand. Truett always had a soft spot for God. The Bible moved him. His heart was warm to the things of his King. He was by no means a cookie cutter Christian but give me a believer who fights to keep believing. Give me a broken man who recognizes his need for a Savior every time. That’s who Truett was and how he should be remembered. My last moment with Truett in person was at his first show this past Thursday at the Factory in Franklin, Tennessee. I had to leave the next morning very early to fly and start our Canadian tour. As I stood in the audience and watched my son bring joy to a room, I was as proud as a “pop” (as tru called me) could be. It was the culminating moment of a dream that he had since he was 12. It couldn’t have been sweeter. Our music, and what we say lyrically couldn’t be more different, but the outcome was much the same… offering a room full of people a few minutes of joy in a crazy world. Our last text exchange is shared above (swipe). My wife and I would want the world to know this... We don’t follow God because we have some sort of under-the-table deal with Him, like, we’ll follow you if you bless us. We follow God because we love Him. It’s our honor. He is the God of the hills and the valleys. And He is beautiful above all things.

A post shared by TobyMac (@tobymac) on

"My last moment with Truett in person was at his first show this past Thursday at the Factory in Franklin, Tennessee," he added. "I had to leave the next morning very early to fly and start our Canadian tour. As I stood in the audience and watched my son bring joy to a room, I was as proud as a 'pop' (as tru called me) could be. It was the culminating moment of a dream that he had since he was 12. It couldn’t have been sweeter. Our music, and what we say lyrically couldn’t be more."

TobyMac also shared the last text message exchange he had with his son, which you can read below:

TobyMac
TobyMac

"My wife and I would want the world to know this... We don't follow God because we have some sort of under the table deal with Him, like we'll follow you if you bless us," TobyMac concluded his statement. "We follow God because we love Him. It's our honor. He is the God of the hills and the valleys. And He is beautiful above all things."

Following in the footsteps of his father, Truett was an aspiring rapper. Prior to his death, he had released a number of songs and videos on YouTube and social media under the names TRU, Shiloh and Truett Foster.

TobyMac (real name: Kevin McKeehan) also spoke about Truett in his music. In the song "Scars (Come With Livin')," released last year, he wrote about how their father-son relationship changed once Truett left home.

"When life cuts so deep try and remember, you are not alone, we've all been there, scars come with livin'," he raps. "You are not alone, we've all been there. So lift your head, lift your head, lift your head to where your help comes from."

"He moved to L.A. and he's making music and he's doing his thing," TobyMac told The Tennessean last October. "But to watch him go through that, and watch him get bruised, it's not easy. So that's one of the ways life has changed. In that song, I just want him to know he's not alone."

"I still believe a song can move somebody's heart," he continued. "And I think that's important. It's easy when you've been doing it a long time to grow cold to that. But I haven't. Every song I write, I still think, 'This is for someone out there.' That's the way I go about it."

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