When Shelton was 14, his brother, Richie, was killed in a car accident at the age of 24. Though it’s been nearly 28 years since the tragedy, Shelton has never forgotten his beloved family member.
“It was literally like the world went silent,” Shelton told in September about his loss. “There was a void in my world all of a sudden, and I’m still not over it. I’m just used to it.”
Though the two were half siblings (they shared a mother), they were very close. Shelton recalled, “For me, my brother was my big brother. I mean, I wanted to be him. I wanted to look like him, dress like him, listen to what he listened to, and be into the things he was into.”
In 2014, he even told that Richie partly introduced him to country music. “His bedroom was right across the hallway from mine when I was little. And he was listening to Hank Williams, Jr. or Waylon, Lynyrd Skynyrd or Bob Seeger,” he said. “Richie loved all the music. And I would be sitting there going, ‘Man, that guy’s my hero. That’s the coolest guy. He’s my big brother.’”
Disaster struck in , when a car Richie was riding in collided with a bus in Blake’s hometown of Ada, Oklahoma.
“I remember picking up the phone to call him a week after he was dead, to tell him something,” Blake said. “And it was like, you think about what I, you know, I was picking up the phone to call him to tell him something I just saw on TV or, and it was like constantly a shock to me that he was dead.”
At the time, Blake’s dad told him he’d “never, ever get over this happening,” a sentiment that turned out to be “absolutely right.” But as the years have passed, Blake and his loved ones started to heal. And though he still takes the time to remember his brother—he and ex Miranda Lambert even wrote a song, "Over You" —the experience has also helped him appreciate those closest to him even more.
“I was raised around good people. People who worked hard. And people who had a lot of fun,” he said last month. “That’s the one thing I got from my family more than anything.”