In a gut-wrenching post on Instagram and Twitter on Thursday, country singer Granger Smith delivered the truly "unthinkable news" to his fans and loved ones that his 3-year-old son River died in a "tragic accident." According to People, a representative for Smith confirmed that River had died in a "drowning accident at home."
"We’ve lost our youngest son, River Kelly Smith," Smith's Instagram post began. "Following a tragic accident, and despite doctor’s best efforts, he was unable to be revived."
Smith went on to share that he and his wife, actress Amber Bartlett, "made the decision to say our last goodbyes and donate his organs so that other children will be given a second chance at life." The post continued, "Our family is devastated and heartbroken, but we take solace in knowing he is with his Heavenly Father."
Smith — who has two other children, 5-year-old son Lincoln and 7-year-old daughter London, with his wife Amber — also noted that his son "Riv was special" and "everyone that met him knew that immediately."
He concluded his post, "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."
Almost instantly after sharing the unimaginably difficult news on social media, Smith's fans flooded his comment section with messages of love and heartfelt condolences.
Fellow country star Kane Brown wrote, "I’m here for you if you need anything at all bro just hit me up."
Jason Aldean penned, "I cant imagine what y’all are going thru. Praying for u and ur family brother. We are heartbroken for u guys."
"I am so, so sorry. Thinking of you and your family at this time," Maren Morris wrote.
One fan wrote to Smith, "You and your wife made the hardest most selfless decision by taking your loss & the hardest day of your life, & turning it into another families 'one more chance.'" They continued, "I hope after you guys grieve, you can find comfort in the fact that your angel who made SUCH a huge impact on your lives was able to be an angel for dozens of other children. Praying for healing for you and your family."
Morgan Miller, wife of Olympic skier Bode Miller, also mourned Smith's tragic loss, writing on her Instagram Story, "My heart breaks," as Us Weekly reported. Nearly one year ago, the Millers 19-month-old daughter Emeline died in a drowning accident in a neighbor's swimming pool, according to TODAY, and they've since become advocates for drowning prevention awareness.
Drowning, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is one of leading causes of "unintentional injury death" in the United States, and about one in five people who die in drowning accidents are children 14 and younger. "Drowning is the single leading cause of injury-related death among children ages 1 to 4," Sarah Denny, MD, FAAP of the American Academy of Pediatrics said in a policy statement in March.
As Smith and his family grieve after suffering such an unthinkable and tragic loss, they undoubtedly have support from fans and their loved ones. And for those who would like to, the family requested in an Instagram post that "in lieu of flowers or gifts, please send donations to Dell Children’s Medical Center in River’s name." The hospital's donation page can be found here.