Christian hip-hop artist TobyMac is reflecting on the death of his 21-year-old son, Truett Foster McKeehan.
Truett, an aspiring rapper, died of an accidental drug overdose in October 2019.
“I will forever be a different man,” TobyMac, whose real name is Kevin Michael McKeehan, told People. “I thought, honestly, with my five kids and my bride, that I had the perfect life. And we’re really messy now. It’s not so neat anymore.”
TobyMac, 57, recalled watching Truett perform at local venue in Tennessee a week before he died.
“I live across the street from where he did his last show and there’s a restaurant over there and some days I go to that restaurant, and I just look over at the patio where I last saw him, and gave him a hug, and said, ‘I’m so proud of you,’ and I just cry,” TobyMac revealed.
The seven-time Grammy Award winner said that he and his wife, Amanda Levy McKeehan, were aware of Truett’s struggles with substance abuse.
“It wasn’t something that we thought was OK, but we didn’t think it was an urgent problem, I guess,” he explained. “I do think that he knew where we stood on it and wanted to honor us, so that was a battle that he fought.”
The couple now faces challenges head-on. They hold weekly meetings with their 20-year-old twins Moses and Marlee, and sons Leo, 17, and Judah 16. No topic is off-limits.
“We just look at each other in the eyes and talk about the hard things,” TobyMac told People. “That’s been special to our family and needed … Truett was their hero, so it’s hard. Do we all know that he made a mistake? Absolutely. We all know what happened.”
“But it doesn’t tarnish the person that Truett is to any of us,” he added.
The day after Truett died, TobyMac paid tribute on Instagram to his late son.
“Truett Foster McKeehan had joy that took the room when he entered. He was a magnetic son and brother and friend,” TobyMac wrote. “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.”
Truett’s family set up a foundation called the Truett Foster Foundation, which raises money to help kids pursue an education in music. According to People, the organization has put three people through college.