Walker Hayes is surrounded by support as he grieves the loss of his daughter.
The 38-year-old country singer and his wife Laney revealed the tragic news Wednesday that their seventh child on the way, a baby girl, died on Wednesday, just days before her due date.
“It is with great sadness that Laney and I share with you the news that our sweet Oakleigh Klover Hayes was born this morning at the hospital and now is safely in heaven. Thank you for honoring our privacy as we grieve,” the statement read about the couple who share three daughters and three sons, ranging in age from 2 to 11.
“Walker has canceled his immediate upcoming appearances to be home with Laney and their children. We ask that everyone respectfully give them their privacy in this difficult time,” the statement concluded. (Walker was nominated for breakthrough video of the year at the CMT Awards and had been slated to perform at Wednesday’s show, as well as additional events during CMA Fest this weekend.)
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Hayes is surrounded by the support of his family, whom he has been open about in the past regarding how they’ve helped him overcome certain hurdles in his life.
In 2015, at the end of his rope, Hayes decided to quit drinking (a habit “I leaned on for many, many years”) and started to write just for himself. What followed was the huge success of his single, “You Broke Up with Me,” and subsequent album Boom.
His wife, who was his high-school sweetheart, has long been Hayes’ most ardent champion, and his success over the past year has left them both giddy. “Our life,” he told PEOPLE in December, “is so drastically filled with hope and actual things happening and no longer just, ‘I believe in you,’ or, ‘Just hang in there’ or, ‘Maybe next year.’ ”
Hayes added that his children are “so cute about” his career. “They look at me like I’m Adam Levine,” he said. “They’re just kids, but them being proud of me means so much to me, and I can tell that they are.”
The Mobile, Alabama, native also opened up to PEOPLE in July about life with his three sons and three daughters, admitting he and Laney originally planned on having four children but “just kept going.”
“Everybody thinks I’m crazy having six kids and chasing this dream,” he said, noting of what he tells his wife, ” ‘You’re crazier than anybody because you married me, and you’re still around for all this.’ ”
Added the “Craig” singer of Laney, “She has a way of looking at me and remembering what’s best about me … even though it’s nowhere close to coming out. Her faith in my gifts and my talents are beyond my own faith in them.”
In April, Hayes revealed to Taste of Country that he was substituiting exercise for drinking, and that his kids are a huge help in that.
“I have a lot of replacements that I’ve found for alcohol,” Hayes said, also giving reading and songwriting as examples of activities he likes to participate in.
“I’m in the gym constantly,” he added. “I may not be doing it right, but I love to get on an elliptical and put the kids on FaceTime in front of me and just get after it. They don’t even have to talk to me. They just put the phone on and put it in the living room and one will walk by and be like, ‘Hey!’ “