Keith Whitley

July 1, 1954 – May 9, 1989

Jackie Keith Whitley was a bright star in 1980s Country Music. He quickly gained attention as a bluegrass singer and guitar player and moved to Nashville from his native Kentucky in 1983 to start a recording career. His first three album releases charted a dozen hits, culminating in three straight number 1 hits off of his 1988 album, Don’t Close Your Eyes.

Whitley met and married fellow Country star, Lorrie Morgan, in 1986. He was the toast of Music City. But, a literal lifetime of alcohol abuse tends to cause problems. Whitley had cleaned up for a bit, and his marriage to Morgan certainly seemed to help him battle his demons. But, after a brief stint of sobriety ended and, with Morgan out on tour, Whitley fell off the wagon hard. On the morning of May 9th, 1989, Whitley was visited by his brother-in-law for breakfast. His brother-in-law left for an hour or so and returned to pick Whitley up for a round of golf. He found Keith unconscious and called for an ambulance. At the age of 34, Keith Whitley died of acute alcohol poisoning and the life of a rising superstar was cut tragically short. Following his death, a number of posthumous albums were released, including two more number 1 hits. A 1994 tribute album included contributions from many of Whitley’s peers and friends. It was produced – as were many of the posthumous releases – by his widow, Lorrie Morgan.


Spring Hill Cemetery – Nashville, TN

Specific Location

Enter the cemetery and turn right. Follow the road, keeping left, until you reach a “T” intersection, then turn left. Veer to the right when you reach the Crestview section and stop when you see a marker for HENLEY on your right just before a large tree. Keith is buried two rows behind this marker.

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