Our hearts go out to our friend Stephen Barker Liles and his family this morning. After a long battle with ALS, the mother of the Love and Theft singer has passed away. Susan Barker Liles Burchett died Tuesday, after battling the degenerative disease, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, for almost three years. Her son had spoken publicly of her condition, and even organized two benefit concerts for her and other ALS victims in Nashville called Shine for Susie, which pulled in artists like Florida-Georgia Line, Lauren Alaina, Craig Campbell and Jerrod Niemann to participate.
In a press release, Stephen said “The love from the country music and ALS community has been overwhelmingly comforting to me and my family. We are so grateful for all artists that have donated their time at events to help raise awareness for this devastating disease. Her memory will live on in all of our hearts and in our ALS charity forever.”
Singer and family friend Canaan Smith said, “Lights that burn bright never burn out. She made her mark on me through her unwavering faith in Jesus...God bless you, sweet Susie. Time to go dancing with the angels.”
Smith was a math teacher in Florida for many years, and counted the songwriting team of Brad and Brett Warren among her students. She is survived by Stephen, four other children, three step-children and eight grandchildren. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, mourners consider donating to the Shine for Susie ALS Fund by Hark-ALS that helps families facing ALS to cover expenses that the government and insurance don’t cover. To donate, click here