“Today we lost our brother, our best friend, our bandmate. Craig was the most amazing person whose passion for life couldn’t be matched,” the country band wrote under a group photo. “Thankful to know he fought his way from the water to a hill and was lying in the shape of a cross on his back looking up to his Heavenly Father.”
Strickland, 29, went missing last week after he and his friend Chase Morland braved winter storm Goliath for a duck-hunting trip. Morland’s body and the pair’s capsized boat was found on Dec. 28, a day after they went missing.
Family and friends held out hope for the singer’s safe return and believed things were looking up when his beloved black lab, Sam, who was also on the hunting trip, was found alive.
However, Monday brought the tragic news that Strickland didn’t make it through the storm.
“Revelation 21:4 ‘He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away,” the band’s statement continued. “We pray today for God to wrap his arms around Randy, Joanne, Helen and the family, and to help us through this extremely difficult time.”
“We want to thank every single friend, fan, and family member for your thoughts, prayers, and love. Today he is smiling down on us and we know he will always be with us. He will always be here to help guide us along the way. We love you Craig Strickland and we will forever miss you!”
Oklahoma Highway Patrol Marine Enforcement Division found Strickland’s body in the original search area around Bear Creek Cove, in a thick tree and brush area approximately 75 feet off the shoreline, a spokesperson told PEOPLE. The family was notified and his wife, Helen Strickland, later took to Twitter, announcing the news to fans.
“#CraigStrickland was found today,” she wrote. “He is safe with his Father in Heaven. Thank you Lord for leading us to him today. I will praise you, Amen.”