Even though Dolly Parton didn’t know Joey Feek, she says losing the 40-year-old felt like losing a family member. The Joey + Rory singer died on Friday (March 4) after a long battle with cancer.

Parton says she was touched to hear Feek was a fan and was beyond saddened to hear the news.

“When I heard she had passed it really hit me like a relative, it really made my heart sad,” Parton said during Monday morning press event to announce a new album and tour. “I was just so sorry that she had to be taken but I guess the Lord needed her more than we did.”

In a blog post announcing Joey's passing, Joey + Rory’s Rory Feek shared a video of his reacting wife to a video Parton had made her months earlier. Parton recognized that she heard her gesture received a positive reaction from Feek and added that she had thought about visiting, but it didn’t work out.

“She’s watching, she’s up there and we love her,” Parton said on Monday after talking about how she admired how Rory and his family handled the illness, and eventual death, of Joey Feek.

Parton’s new album will be called Pure & Simple With Dolly’s Biggest Hits. It’s a double-disc project with 12 new songs and a selection of her greatest hits. She’ll begin an extensive US and Canadian Tour in June, with 60 dates on calendar so far.

“We’re so excited to get out there and see the fans again,” the legend says in a press release. “I’m really looking forward to singing songs the fans have not heard in a while, as well as the hits, while debuting a few new ones off Pure & Simple.”

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