Granger Smith shared the heartbreaking news on Instagram: "Riv was special. Everyone that met him knew that immediately. The joy he brought to our lives cannot be expressed and his light will be forever in our hearts."

By Ian Horswill


Posted on June 7, 2019

American country music singer Granger Smith has shared “unthinkable news” on social media that his three-year-old son drowned in the family’s backyard swimming pool in Georgetown, Texas.

Granger Smith, who has played at the White House three times and performed for US soldiers in Iraq and Kuwait, is best known for his song ‘If the Boot Fits’, wrote on his Instagram:

“Our family is devastated and heartbroken, but we take solace in knowing he is with his Heavenly Father.

“Riv was special. Everyone that met him knew that immediately. The joy he brought to our lives cannot be expressed and his light will be forever in our hearts.

“If there are words to say more, I cannot find them in this moment. Love the ones close to you. There has never been a more difficult moment for us than this.”

People first reported the cause of death, citing a representative for Smith.

Amber Smith with River who died in the backyard pool

Granger Smith and his wife Amber have asked that in lieu of flowers or gifts people send donations to Dell Children’s Medical Centre Texas in River’s name.

“Amber and I made the decision to say our last goodbyes and donate his organs so that other children will be given a second chance at life,” Granger Smith wrote.

Granger Smith is also father to son Lincoln Monarch, five, and daughter London, seven. He shared an image of him hugging a smiling River Kelly.

Amber Smith also shared the shocking news: “Nothing can prepare a mother to deliver this kind of news. We’ve lost our youngest son, River Kelly Smith.”

Granger Smith family Instagram

Granger Smith is on tour, under his alter ego Earl Dibbles Jr, and has cancelled all shows until a sold-out concert in Vermont on 14 June.

The devastating news was met with an outpouring of love and support from members of the music industry including fellow country stars and fathers Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean.

“Many prayers. So Sorry,” Bryan posted in the comments.

Aldean wrote: “I can’t imagine what y’all are going thru. Praying for u and ur family brother. We are heartbroken for u guys.”

Father-to-be Kane Brown also sent his love, telling Smith: “I’m here for you if you need anything at all bro just hit me up.”

Maren Morris wrote: “I am so, so sorry. Thinking of you and your family at this time.”

In Texas, homeowners who have private residential swimming pools must construct a minimum of four feet-high (1.2 metres) fence around the pool to prevent unsupervised access to the pool. The fence cannot have any gaps or openings greater than four inches wide.

Pool gates must self-close and self-latch and be capable of being locked by a padlock, a combination lock, a built-in keypad or a key card. Latches should be in the upper part of the gate on the inside to prevent children from opening the barrier easily.