The country music community continues to mourn the loss of Joey + Rory singer Joey Feek, who died on March 4 after a lengthy and brave battle with cancer. Among those saddened by Feek's death is country music icon Dolly Parton, who was a source of inspiration for Feek.

"She was such a sweet, sweet person," Parton told The Boot at a recent media event. "They had such a wonderful thing going. I was just so sorry that she had to be taken, but I guess the Lord needed her more than we did.

"She was a big fan of mine," Parton adds. "I was really touched by that."

In a video message to Feek following her diagnosis, Parton wished her well and reminded her of their shared Christian faith.

“We have something in common: We both believe in a higher power. We believe that, through God, all things are possible," Parton said in the message. "... I just think that you're wonderful, and I know that God's proud of you."

"If I were to die tomorrow, I'd be so complete," a tearful Feek said after watching the video. "I can't believe that."

Parton admits that she was disappointed she didn't get to meet Feek before she passed away, but she mourns the loss deeply.

"When I heard she had passed, it really hit me like [it was] a relative. It really made my heart sad," Parton says. "She handled that so well, her and [husband] Rory [Feek]. They [had] a wonderful way in how to deal with such a thing as that. To leave behind that little child [daughter Indiana] is a sad thing. But she’s watching. She’s up there. I’m sorry that she did pass."

The Feeks will hold a private memorial service for Joey Feek. In lieu of flowers, those looking for a way to express their condolences may send donations to Rory Feek and daughter Indiana at the following address:

Joey and Indy
P.O. Box 5471
Vancouver, WA 98668

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