Craig Strickland, who was the lead singer for “Backroad Anthem,” was confirmed dead on Monday after he went missing last month while duck hunting during a horrific storm. As his fans were mourning his tragic death, his widow Helen Strickland posted details of his final hours on social media.
“Craig was found today. We can finally rest knowing that he is at Home in Heaven with his Father,” she wrote in an Instagram post on Monday afternoon. “The night of the accident he had fought his way out of the water and up a hill before the stages of hypothermia set in.
“He experienced no pain in his final moments and simply felt like he was falling asleep. They found him lying in the shape of a cross looking up to his Father,” she revealed.
— Mashable (@mashable) January 5, 2016
According to the Wrap, Strickland’s body was discovered a little over a week after his boat capsized at Bear Creek Cove, which is right near Kaw Lake in Kay County, Oklahoma. Strickland and his friend, Chase Morland, left their home state of Arkansas on Dec 26 for a duck hunting trip despite reports of inclement weather.
Their boat was found just a little after midnight on the morning of December 28. Morland’s body was found at 11 a.m. by officials, and Strickland’s dog, Sam, was watching over the body.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol said that both Strickland and Morland’s bodies were found in the same area.
“Strickland and Morland had a 1977 Flat Bottom John Boat with no motor, and other hunting equipment such as an ice chest and decoys. These items created a ‘debris field’ along the shore line. Both Strickland and Morland were located near this area.”
According to an article posted in the Inquisitr, the dreadful weather in Oklahoma was to blame for five deaths and 100 injuries.
Backroad Anthem’s other band members include Toby Freeman, Eric Dysart, Josh Bryant, Brandon Robold, and Isaac Senty. They posted a message surrounding Strickland’s death on their official Facebook page.
“Today we lost our brother, our best friend, our bandmate. Craig was the most amazing person whose passion for life couldn’t be matched,” it read. “Today he is smiling down on us and we know he will always be with us. He will always be here to help guide us along the way.”
According to Rolling Stone, Backroad Anthem first got together in 2012 when Strickland joined forces with his fellow church acquaintances, which included Freeman, Dysart, Bryant, Robold and Sentry.
Strickland’s family and friends were hoping for a miracle, but sadly that wasn’t the case. His father, Randy Strickland, posted the following statement on his son’s band’s Facebook page.
“We are trying to think of a scenario where he is still alive. Hoping against the odds. We can’t even stand to think about it. We are devastated. Only God & time can put us back together. Love all!”
Perhaps the most devastating of all is the fact that both men posted on social media that this expedition that they were embarking on would be their very last. In fact, on the night that they were going to embark on this fateful journey, Morland sent out this message via Twitter.
— Entertainment Weekly (@EW) January 5, 2016
This message would ultimately be the last words shared by Chase and a final retweet that his buddy Craig would ever send.
Helen Strickland’s Instagram post is found below.
Craig was found today. We can finally rest knowing that he is at Home in Heaven with his Father. The night of the accident he had fought his way out of the water and up a hill before the stages of hypothermia set in. He experienced no pain in his final moments and simply felt like he was falling asleep. They found him lying in the shape of a cross looking up to his Father. Thank you to every single person who prayed for him and our family during this time. There was not a more peaceful way for him to go into the arms of our Lord, and I know your prayers had a role in making that happen. I know he saw Jesus at that moment when he laid down and walked arm in arm with Him into a better Everlasting Life. I love you with all my heart Craig Michael. #craigstrickland
[Image via Helen Elizabeth Strickland/Instagram]