Luke Bryan’s Mother Makes an Emotional Return to Her Florida Home Destroyed in Hurricane Michael
Nine days after the storm wreaked havoc along the coast, the 42-year-old country crooner’s mother LeClaire returned with friends to salvage what she could from her home in the hard-hit Mexico Beach area.
Little of the building withstood the winds of the hurricane and as LeClaire, taking photos, overlooked her debris-covered yard and other obliterated homes the mother of the “Most People Are Good” singer became too overwhelmed, breaking down in tears.
Leaning against the back of a gator vehicle, LeClaire was consoled by Florida resident James Whiddon.
The music legend’s mom later invited a photographer inside her home as she tried to find any of her possessions which had survived Michael’s fury.
To her dismay, most of her home was completely wiped out, despite her attempt to protect it by boarding her windows with plywood.
Paintings and artwork were stripped from the walls, cabinets were left flung open and piles of damaged furniture crowded the hallways making it nearly impossible to walk through.
As LeClaire sifted through what was left she made a heartbreaking discovery. On the floor, laid a shattered frame of her son’s 2009 hit “Rain is a Good Thing”— Luke’s first number one hit on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart.
On the day Hurricane Michael hit land, Luke asked his followers on Twitter to keep his family and the residents of Florida in their prayers.
“Hey everyone. Pray for my people. So many dear people I know are being affected. My mother and so many friends live in Mexico beach. And not it’s bearing down on Albany and Leesburg.”
Luke did not respond to PEOPLE’s request to comment further.
Mexico Beach Mayor Al Cathey told ABC News that 289 people — including 10 children — decided to remain in the city despite evacuation orders as the state prepared for the devastating storm. Both Cathey and a city clerk told the site that 46 of those who remained were still missing on Oct 14.
“If we lose only one life, to me that’s going to be a miracle,” Cathey told the Associated Press, noting that he was hopeful about the fates of the missing.
Hey everyone. Pray for my people. So many dear people I know are being affected. My mother and so many friends live in Mexico beach. And now it’s bearing down on Albany and Leesburg.
— Luke Bryan (@LukeBryanOnline) October 11, 2018
The city was “wiped out” after the storm made landfall packing 155 mph winds.
Following the storm, at least 18 people were confirmed dead, including three in North Carolina, eight in Florida, six in Virginia and one in Georgia, according to the Weather Channel. Among the 18, one confirmed death has been reported in Mexico Beach, according to ABC.
The death toll has now risen to 36, according to the Weather Channel as of this past weekend.
Read more: people.com