Keith Whitley’s Last Love Note To Lorrie Morgan: "Rise Each Day With Sunlight In Your Heart"

Keith Whitley’s Last Love Note To Lorrie Morgan: "Rise Each Day With Sunlight In Your Heart"

The couple experienced an enduring love that Morgan referred to as "a lifetime feeling." His final love letter perfectly encapsulates the bond they shared.

During his iconic tour to promote "L.A. to Miami" in the late 1980s, country music star Keith Whitley had the opportunity to meet Lorrie Morgan, one of his contemporaries. The two hit it off immediately and went on to live a love story that will persevere through the ages. Unfortunately, Whitley passed away suddenly owing to alcohol poisoning. While he may no longer be with us, his voice and the love he shared with his wife Morgan are forever preserved through the music and love letters he wrote. Indeed, his final love note is one that could move anyone to tears.


"Would you like to know what I wish for you?" He asks in the letter​. "If I could have any wish I wanted, this is my wish: That in your life which is so precious to me, may worries, troubles, and problems never linger. May they only make you that much stronger and able and wise. May you rise each day with sunlight in your heart, success in your path, answers to your prayers, and that smile that I always love to see in your eyes. I love you, Keith." Whitley handed his wife the letter when he dropped her off at the airport for a promo trip to Alaska.


Morgan has referred to the card as "spooky," given that he passed away only three days after she received it. She said, "When I read the card on the way back home, I felt like he was trying to tell me something." Although the time she shared with her beloved husband was cut short far too soon, she noted that she was grateful for every minute of it. "I am thankful for those three years, as hard as the bad times were," she said. "In those three years I’ve never in my life known love like Keith Whitley showed me. A lot of people never experience that. That was a lifetime feeling."


Whitley and Morgan married each other in November 1986 and had their only child, a son, Jesse Keith Whitley in June 1987. A testament to the love they shared is how Whitley adopted Morgan's daughter from her first marriage, also named Morgan. Sadly, less than two days before his 35th birthday in 1989, Whitley passed away, leaving his family behind. He had a brief phone call with his mother and was later visited by his brother-in-law, Lane Palmer. The two had coffee and were planning a day of golf and lunch, after which Whitley planned to start writing songs for Morgan and him to record when she returned from her concert tour. Palmer left at approximately 8:30 am, asking Whitley to be ready to leave within an hour. Upon returning, Palmer found Whitley unresponsive on his bed and called an ambulance. Whitley was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.


Despite his tragic passing, Morgan holds immense love for Whitley. She delivered a moving tribute for him in the form of an emotional performance. Others, too, paid homage through the country hit "Keith Whitley: A Tribute Album." The album was released in 1994 via BNA Records, featuring stellar performances from Alan Jackson, Diamond Rio, Alison Krauss, and Joe Diffie. Whitley was laid to rest at the Spring Hill Cemetery near Nashville later in the day. On his gravestone are two quotes, “Forever yours faithfully” and “His being was my reason.” They make reference to Morgan, whose burial plot and headstone sit adjacent to his.


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