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By Tricia Despres

Joey+Rory fans worldwide have wondered – how would the ACM Awards recognize the death of one of country’s brightest stars? How could they showcase Joey’s spirit, her musical abilities and her impact on the country music scene and give her the tribute she so deserved.

As usual, the ACM Awards did it absolutely perfectly.

“A few weeks ago, we lost a member of our country music family in the passing of Joey Feek,” Darius Rucker said as he walked onto the stage.

“Joey was more than just a wonderful singer and an ACM-winning artist along with her husband Rory,” Martina McBride added. “She was a beloved mom, daughter, family member and friend.”

“Of all the different ways we could honor Joey, we think that the way we could honor Joey that would mean the most is one more time, all of her fans and all who love her to give her a big round of applause.”

And the arena erupted in applause.

And the heavens cried.

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