Lorrie Morgan is speaking out about the posthumous induction of her late husband, Keith Whitley, into the Country Music Hall of Fame . The singer, who passed away in 1989 when he was just 34 years old, will be inducted in a ceremony later this year, along with Jerry Lee Lewis and Joe Galante.
“In my heart, this feels like an absolutely appropriate honor, but at the same time, I know that Keith would be painfully humbled, and even shy about accepting an induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame,” Morgan said. “Music was all about emotion to Keith. It was personal. There were so many great artists he admired, even worshipped. To stand in their company in the Hall of Fame would’ve been overwhelmingly emotional for him.
“I am thrilled to see him honored this way,” she added, “and for what it means to my children, Morgan and Jesse Keith; to Keith’s grandchildren; the Whitley family; and to the many, many fans who continue to point to Keith as one of the all-time greats.”
Morgan was on hand to accept the induction during the announcement, reflecting on the singer’s life and legacy, which was tragically cut short.
“Oh my gosh, what a dream come true,” an emotional Morgan said. “I heard Keith Whitley sing for the first time in 1982. I was on my way to the Grand Ole Opry, and he introduced himself to me, and from that day on, we were together. We married and had two beautiful children. Keith never knew how loved he was. He never accepted that he could have a great record deal, or he could have as much as anybody else had in this industry.
“He would be absolutely blown away if he were here today,” she added. “He would be saying, ‘Surely they got it wrong.’ That’s how humble he was. … He deserves to be here. He’s deserved to be here for quite some time.”
“He’s been gone now for almost as long as he lived,” Dunn noted. “Perhaps Garth, who specifically noted that this inductee deserved to be in the Hall of Fame during his own induction announcement in 2012 said it best when he said, ‘Keith Whitley is the definition of country music.'”
Although the announcement was held via livestream, a few select guests were invited to join the announcement in the Country Music Hall of Fame, including Darryl Worley, who attended as a special guest of Morgan, and sang Whitley’s praises.
Keith Whitley has always been a hero of mine! I am thankful to have a close relationship with this family and that they would want me to share this day with them is such an honor! @garthbrooks was right @keith_whitley_official is the definition of country music!
— Darryl Worley (@darrylworley) May 17, 2022
“Keith Whitley has always been a hero of mine!” Worley later tweeted. “I am thankful to have a close relationship with this family and that they would want me to share this day with them is such an honor [Garth Brooks] was right. [Keith Whitley] is the definition of country music!”
Whitley passed away on May 9, 1989. The cause of death was reportedly alcohol poisoning. He married Morgan in 1986. The couple remained married until his death.
A specific date for the induction ceremony has yet to be announced.