Luke Bell, a country singer known for songs “Where Ya Been?” and “The Bullfighter,” has died. He was 32.
Bell was found dead in Tucson, Arizona, on Friday, the Tucson Police Department confirmed to USA TODAY in a statement Tuesday. Bell was officially identified on Monday.
“The investigation is ongoing at the moment,” police added.
Artist Matt Kinman, a close friend of Bell, confirmed the musician’s death to Saving Country Music, which was the first to report the news. According to the outlet, Bell allegedly went missing on Aug. 20 in Tucson.
USA TODAY has reached out to the Pima County Medical Examiner’s office for further details.
Born in Lexington, Kentucky, on Jan. 27, 1990, Bell got his start in the music industry while playing at a local bar during his college years, according to Saving Country Music. He was raised in Cody, Wyoming, and his music led him to spend some time in Tennessee, Texas and Louisiana.
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In Nashville, Tennessee, he recorded his 2014 album “Don’t Mind If I Do,” which he released on Bandcamp. In 2016, he released a self-titled album. In 2021, Bell released his latest song “Jealous Guy.”
Ahead of performing at the 2016 Stagecoach Country Music Festival in Indio, California, Bell spoke to the Los Angeles Times about his music career.
“I was listening to people like John Prine,” he told the outlet, “then I moved to Austin for a couple of years and got into the Texas Tornadoes and that scene. Then I went to New Orleans. I was only there for about six months. I was living in a molding trailer that smelled of bleach in the Lower 9th Ward. It was tough.”
Bell also spoke about his “reclusive” nature and not being a part of Nashville’s songwriter community: “I’m just trying to get my songs better and better.”
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Nashville-based country singer Margo Price paid tribute to Bell on Twitter.
“goddamn, rest (easy) to our dear friend, Luke Bell,” Price wrote.
A fan of the late singer replied to Price’s tweet by sharing a selfie and called him a “rad” person. Another Twitter user called Bell’s self-titled album “one of my favorite records. This is so damn sad.”
Singer Joshua Hedley shared it had “been a long time since I saw (Bell) and I was just talking about him the other day wondering what he’s been up to.”
“Truly a sad night for country music,” Hedley added.
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Singer Shelby Lee Lowe wrote that Bell’s one record is “better than most artists will spend a lifetime trying to make.”
“So cool and so different,” Lowe wrote. “I’m sad to hear the news of his passing. I’m grateful I found this record he made.”
The band Mike and the Moonpies paid tribute to Bell on Monday.
“Word just came down on the passing of Luke Bell and we’re heartbroken over the news,” the band’s Facebook statement read. “I can vividly remember the first time I met Luke at Hole in the Wall over a decade ago, down to the clothes on his back. The man (and his music) left an impression. He was a real deal traveling troubadour out there on that lost highway. Do yourself a favor and put on some Luke Bell tunes tonight in his memory. Rest In Peace, friend.”
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