Keith Whitley to Be Inducted Into Country Music Hall of Fame This Weekend

by Samantha Whidden

More than 33 years after his sudden passing, Keith Whitley is set to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame this weekend. 

According to the Country Music Hall of Fame website, Keith Whitley will be honored at the Medallion Ceremony. Joe Galente and Jerry Lee Lewis will also be honored during the ceremony. Country Music Hall of Fame Museum took to Twitter to announce the exciting news about Keith Whitley’s induction. “Keith Whitley was an enormously influential vocalist in country music and bluegrass, helping spearhead the New Traditionalist revival of classic country music in the 1980s. He will be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame on Sunday, Oct. 16.”

The ceremony honors the newest member of the Country Music Hall of Fame as they are formally inducted. The event takes place at the museum CMA theater and is produced by the museum’s staff. “Friends, family, colleagues, and fellow Country Music Hall of Fame members honor the new inductees with tributes and songs. A Hall of Fame member inducts the member-elect by presenting the inductee with a commemorative medallion to be worn each time the membership gathers.”

Bronze plaques of Keith Whitley as well as Galante and Lee Lewis will be unveiled for the first time. They will be hung permanently in the museum’s rotunda. Each inductee (or someone in their place) will give an acceptance speech. The ceremony ends with everyone in attendance singing “Will the Circle be Unbroken.” 

Keith Whitley’s Wife Lorrie Morgan Reflects on the Country Music Singer Following His Death 

Weeks after Keith Whitley’s sudden death, the country music artist’s wife Lorrie Morgan reflected on the loss. Morgan was notably on a promotion trip in Alaska at the time of Whitley’s passing. She was also certain that if she had been home, her husband would not have died. The couple was married from 1986 to Whitley’s death in 1989.

Morgan reflected on the card that she received from Keith Whitley shortly before his death. “When I read the card on the way back home, I felt like was trying to tell me something,” she said. 

The message in the card read, “If I could have any wish I wanted, this is my wish: That in your life which is so precious to me, many 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.”

As previously reported, Keith Whitley passed away on May 9, 1989, after succumbing to alcohol poisoning. He was 34 years old at the time. Following his passing, his single I Wonder Do You think of Me topped the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. His other single I’m No Strange to the Rain was also named CMA Single of the Year for 1989.