The body of country missing Craig Strickland has been found; he has died. On December 27th, Backroad Anthem's lead singer Craig Strickland, his friend Chase Morland, 22, and Strickland's dog Sam went for a duck hunt. However, they met with the winter storm Goliath and soon they were missing. The search began after Strickland and Morland failed to make contact with their families for 24 hours. On Dec. 31, search crews discovered footprints, boat marks and dog prints that helped them narrow their search area.
Morland's body was recovered on the afternoon of Dec. 28, with Sam found, alive, next to his body. On January 4, Strickland was found, but he has died. The body of the 29-year-old was recovered in an area of Kaw Lake known as Bear Creek Cove. According to tweets from 40/29 News' Pedro Rivera, Strickland's body was found just north of where his capsized boat was discovered on Dec. 28, near the shoreline.
"The Oklahoma Highway Patrol Marine Enforcement Division made recovery of the body of Craig M. Strickland this morning Jan. 4, 2016," a spokesperson confirms to PEOPLE in a statement.
"Strickland and his friend, Chase R. Morland were both reported missing on Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015, while on a duck hunt at Kaw Lake in Kay County, Oklahoma. Strickland's body was located within the original search area known as Bear Creek Cove. The Strickland family has been notified of the recovery."
Wife Helen Strickland tweeted, "Craig was found today. He is safe with his Father in Heaven. Thank you Lord for leading us to him today. I will praise you, Amen."
An Instagram post from Strickland's wife, Helen Strickland, reveals that the artist had made it out of the lake after his boat capsized.
"The night of the accident, he had fought his way out of the water and up a hill before the stages of hypothermia set in. He experienced no pain in his final moments and simply felt like he was falling asleep," she explains. "The found him lying in the shape of a cross looking up to his Father."
"Thank you to every single person who prayed for him and our family during this time. There was not a more peaceful way for him to go into the arms of our Lord, and I know your prayers had a role in making that happen," Helen Strickland continues. "I know he saw Jesus at that moment when he laid down and walked arm in arm with Him into a better Everlasting Life."
For friends and fans looking for a way to help out, a GoFundMe account has been set up to help cover expenses associated with the search efforts and Craig Strickland's burial.
"His passion for music and the stage are what many times have kept us going miles and miles down the road," Strickland's Backroad Anthem bandmades wrote on Facebook on Dec. 30. "We want y'all - our fans, friends and loved ones - to know Craig is an amazing person, husband, son, bandmate and most certainly best friend."