The Rare Country staff is saddened to learn of the passing of singer, songwriter, musician and actress Lari White.
In January, we learned that the beautiful and incredibly talented artist had been diagnosed with peritoneal cancer in late 2017. Lari first broke the news in a blog post on Artist Works, telling readers that she had already endured pneumonia, surgery and was dealing with pain management. A Caring Bridge page was then established by Lari’s family to keep family, fans and friends posted on her progress. Unfortunately, treatment, which included trying two new chemotherapy drugs, was unsuccessful, and on Jan. 23, Lari succumbed to the disease at the age of 52.
In one of the most recent posts on the Caring Bridge page, Lari’s mother wrote, “There is so much I could say about Lari, but multitudes of you have said it already. God gave us a very special gift when he sent this incredible baby to a young, inexperienced … and frightened … couple … But in spite of this, we loved her with all our hearts. From the beginning, we knew that she was ‘something else’ … wise and funny, intelligent and super-talented … so loving, kind and compassionate … with a heart as big as all of heaven. I have never known a person who did not love her and respect her, as evidenced by the great outpouring of love and concern of so many people. Every role she has played in life has been superb, and most of all, her role as mother. We are blessed to be her family. [Husband] Chuck [Cannon] and their three children are blessed to have her as wife and mother. Thank you, God, for Lari!”
Lari earned Nashville’s attention in 1988 when she was named a winner in the reality competition show “You Can Be a Star,” a show that also helped launch the career of Trisha Yearwood.
She went on to release her first album, “Lead Me Not,” in 1993 and quickly established herself as a respected songwriter and singer with a sweet, but incredibly soulful, voice. Her sophomore album, “Wishes,” went on to produce three hit singles, including “That’s My Baby,” “Now I Know” and “That’s How You Know (When You’re In Love).” A 1997 duet with Travis Tritt, “Helping Me Get Over You,” cracked the Top 20 on “Billboard’s” Hot Country Songs chart.
In 1996, and then again in 1998, Lari became a Grammy winner for her contributions to “Amazing Grace: A Country Salute to Gospel” and “Amazing Grace 2.” She won a third Grammy in 1999 for her involvement on the soundtrack for the movie “The Apostle,” which featured June Carter Cash and Billy Joe Shaver. Lari performed the traditional hymn “There is Power in the Blood” for the collection.
Lari also had success as one of the few female producers working in country music. She produced Toby Keith’s 2006 album, “White Trash With Money,” and co-produced four songs on Billy Dean’s “Let Them Be Little” album in 2004.
Lari gained big screen recognition when she appeared in the 2000 film “Cast Away” starring Tom Hanks. She also went on to appear in the 2010 Tim McGraw and Gwyneth Paltrow movie, “Country Strong.” In addition, she appeared on the stage in the Broadway musical “Ring of Fire.”
Married to fellow hit songwriter Chuck Cannon (“I Love the Way You Love Me,” “How Do You Like Me Now?!”), Lari was the mother of three children–M’Kenzy, Kyra and Jaxon. Lari and Chuck co-wrote “I Will Not Say Goodbye” with songwriter Vicky McGehee, which became a Top 40 hit for Dany Gokey. Sadly, the song was inspired by the untimely passing of a dear friend’s 14-year-old son.
Our thoughts and prayers join so many others sending love and light to Chuck, their children and the rest of Lari’s family and friends during this heartbreaking time.