The Tragic Death of Luke Bell: A Country Music Icon Gone Too Soon

Herbie J Pilato

[Author’s Note: This article is based on entertainment and media reports Yahoo! News, Saving Country Music,, and]

He was one of country music's most beloved stars, and now, he's gone too soon.

As Tayrn Ryder of Yahoo! Entertainment documented on August 30, 2022, the singer-songwriter died at the age of 32. The performer artist was first reported missing in Arizona on August 20.

"Bell's close friend, musician Matt Kinman," Ryder wrote, "confirmed the news to Saving Country Music. Kinman was with Bell when he went missing. The singer was discovered on Monday "not far from where he disappeared, and in a manner, we all feared he would be when we first heard the news," the blog notes.

Kinman told the outlet that Bell severely struggled with bipolar disorder. After virtually disappearing from the public eye years ago, Bell's mental health seemed to improve due to medication and treatment. "But while out West recently, Luke's mental state took a turn for the worse. While in Tucson with Matt Kinman, he ran off while Matt went to get something to eat," Saving Country Music relayed.

According to, Bell moved to Austin, Texas, in 2012 where he recorded his self-titled debut album. Bell also produced the entire album himself.

As details:

Bell moved to New Orleans briefly, where he spent his time busking on the street to make money. Afterward, he moved back to Cody, Wyoming, where he wrote and recorded his second full-length album, titled Don't Mind If I Do. He wrote the album while working on a ranch, and recorded it upon receiving funding from a Kickstarter campaign. Bell enlisted Andrija Tokic, who had worked with Caitlin Rose, Alabama Shakes, and Hurray for the Riff Raff previously, to produce the album. He recorded a Daytrotter session that same year. According to Daytrotter, the people whom Bell writes about 'have bigger than life personalities' and Bell is, without a doubt, one of the most talented country and western songwriters working...'

"After the second record era was complete," relays, "Bell moved to Nashville, Tennessee. He released his second self-titled and third and final studio album in 2016. The album was a mix of songs from his previous album and new songs. 'Sometimes,' a single from the album that was originally on Bell's 2014 release, received attention from both NPR Music and Rolling Stone. A music video featuring Erin Rae, Patrick Sweany, and Kristina Murray was released for the song. In late 2016, Bell released a cover of the 1971 John Lennon song, 'Jealous Guy.'"

The report from Ryder and Yahoo! Entertainment said that an official cause of death has not yet been revealed.

"Bell, a Wyoming native, caused a stir in the country music scene in 2014 with his debut album Don't Mind if I Do. He signed a record deal with Thirty Tigers in 2016. Later that year, he dropped his self-titled album which received critical acclaim. While promoting the record, he talked about tuning out the noise on his seemingly inevitable rise to stardom," wrote Ryder.

"To be honest, I live in the day, and I count smiles," Bell told The Boot in a 2016 interview. "That's it. Listen, half the time, I end up drinking beer with my neighbors. 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."

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Herbie J Pilato is the author of several books about pop culture including THE 12 BEST SECRETS OF CHRISTMAS: A TREASURE HOUSE OF DECEMBER MEMORIES REVEALED, MARY: THE MARY TYLER MOORE STORY, TWITCH UPON A STAR, GLAMOUR, GIDGETS AND THE GIRL NEXT DOOR, DASHING, DARING AND DEBONAIR, and NBC & ME: MY LIFE AS A PAGE IN A BOOK, among others. He's also a TV writer/producer, and has worked for Reelz, Bravo, E!, TLC, and hosted THEN AGAIN WITH HERBIE J PILATO, the hit classic TV talk show (which premiered on Amazon Prime in 2019).

Los Angeles, CA

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