Strickland’s body was recovered on Jan. 4, a week after he and friend Chase Morland disappeared while on a hunting trip together on the frosty banks of Oklahoma’s Kaw Lake. Morland’s body, along with the pair’s capsized boat, were found just hours after they were reported missing by family members.
“Today we lost our brother, our best friend, our bandmate,” the group wrote in the caption of a group photo on Instagram. “Craig was the most amazing person whose passion for life couldn’t be matched. Thankful to know he fought his way from the water to a hill and was lying in the shape of a cross on his back, looking up to his Heavenly Father.”
“We pray today for God to wrap his arms around (Strickland’s father) Randy, (mother) Joanne, ( wife) Helen and the family, and to help us through this extremely difficult time. We want to thank every single friend, fan and family member for your thoughts, prayers and love.”
“Today he is smiling down on us, and we know he will always be with us. He will always be here to help guide us along the way,” the post reads. “We love you, Craig Strickland, and we will forever miss you!”
Strickland’s wife, Helen, also shared an emotional statement along with a photo of her husband on her Instagram account a short time later.
“Craig was found today,” Helen writes. “We can finally rest knowing that he is at Home in Heaven with his Father. 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. They 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,” she continues. “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. I know he saw Jesus at that moment when he laid down and walked arm in arm with Him into a better Everlasting Life. I love you with all my heart Craig Michael.”