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Luke Bryan on inspiring others after tragedy: 'That's what life's all about for me'

The country music star opened up about finding purpose after a string of devastating family losses.
/ Source: TODAY

Luke Bryan knows what it's like to have your life change in the blink of an eye.

The country music superstar opened up to People about finding purpose after a string of devastating family losses over the past 25 years. "I've had so many tragedies in my life," said Bryan. "It's almost like you don't want to tell the story because you don't want to feel like you're out there craving sympathy."

Bryan lost his older brother, Chris, after a car accident in 1996, and his older sister, Kelly, died of natural causes in 2007. After Kelly's husband, Lee, died of a heart attack just seven years later, Bryan and his wife, Caroline, decided to raise the late couple's three children as their own.

Bryan opened up about finding purpose after suffering a string of family losses.Eric McCandless / ABC via Getty Images

"You truly never get over it," Bryan, 45, said of the heartbreaks. "You truly never settle in your mind that it's happened. I mean, it's always there."

But as he reveals in "Luke Bryan: My Dirt Road Diary," a new five-episode docu-series about his life premiering Aug. 6 on IMDb TV, the losses he's endured have helped him to appreciate all the good in his life.

"If I can inspire people to move on from tragedy, hopefully by my behavior," he said, "that's what life's all about for me."

The "American Idol" judge, who shares two sons — Thomas, 13, and Tatum, 10 — with his wife, said he thinks of his late loved ones as his guardian angels, even crediting them for his success.

"Maybe Chris and Kelly and Lee have moved some puzzle pieces around to make my life so fortunate," he continued. "When I say my prayers at night, I have to say, 'Thank y'all for looking after us down here.'"

The "Kick the Dust Up" singer said he's always been a "pretty joyful person." One of the perks of his career is that he can get onstage and spread that joy around.

Each time Bryan performs, he sees as it as an opportunity to encourage fans to kick up their heels for a night.

"The most fun moment," he said, "is when you got this good ol' boy out there in the crowd, and then I get him loosened up and he can go dance with his girl. And she's like, 'Well, I've never seen him dance and have fun like that.'

"That's what I want. I just want to bring smiles to people," he added.

But if it all disappeared tomorrow — the adoring crowds, the chart-topping hits and the critical praise — Bryan knows he'll still be happy.

"If this right here" — he said, referring to his voice — "quit working in the morning, if I couldn't sing again," he told People, "then I am so blessed by what I've been able to achieve."

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