The Tragic Death of TobyMac’s Son

Christian rapper TobyMac has gained a wide audience for discussing spirituality and his personal struggles in his music. Sadly, the rapper recently faced what might be the hardest struggle of his life: the death of his 21 year-old son, Truett Foster McKeehan. Although TobyMac had difficulty connecting with his son, the rapper is understandably distraught by his passing. Here’s what he had to say about his son’s tragic death.

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TobyMac | Johnny Louis / Contributor

TobyMac’s career and family

According to AllMusic, TobyMac gained prominence as part of a Christian band called DC Talk which broke up in 1999. His solo career began with his Grammy-nominated 2001 album Momentum, which featured a rap rock style typical of the day. He has since released seven more solo albums, several of which reached the top 20 of the Billboard charts, which is relatively rare for religious albums. He and his wife, Amanda, had five children.

Truett Foster McKeehan was the eldest of TobyMac’s children. Over the course of his life, he musically collaborated several times with his father. According to The Tennessean, he was an aspiring rapper. McKeehan had released a handful of solo tracks.

TobyMac in Florida | John Parra/Getty Images

When McKeehan moved out of the family home, his relationship with his father began to change, causing TobyMac great distress. He discussed his feelings on his song “Scars,” which includes the lyrics: “Now you won’t take my phone calls/You won’t text me back at all/I just wanna see you/I can’t stand to see you gone/Yesterday I missed you/Yesterday I played your song/I’m oversimplifyin’, I’m oversimplifyin’.”

TobyMac was candid about the changes his son was going through in an interview with The Tennessean, elaborating “Up to now, [our home has] been a safe harbor, a place of love. And now, you know, I have my first kid leave home. He’s going and facing this world…To watch and see him get cut and get bruised, it’s not easy.”

TobyMac’s son passes away

On October 23, McKeehan died of cardiac arrest in Nashville, Tennessee. The manner of his death is currently under investigation. The Star Tribune reported that McKeehan had performed his first show the week prior. At the time, TobyMac was in the midst of a tour in Canada which has now been canceled.

TobyMac appears to be relying on his Christian faith to get him through his son’s passing. In a statement, he said “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.”

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TobyMac | Johnny Louis/FilmMagic

According to TobyMac, his eldest child shared his spiritual side. On social media, he discussed his son’s faith, saying “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.”

A representative for TobyMac asked for fans and others to give his family space during this time, commenting “We just ask that everyone please be respectful of their privacy during this time and allow them to grieve their loss.”