This week is a tough one for Little Big Town, as Jimi Westbrook's sister passed away from cancer on Sunday (Nov. 29). During Tuesday's CMT Artists of the Year Awards, bandmates Kimberly Schlapman and Phillip Sweet were in attendance to accept the award on behalf of Westbrook and Karen Fairchild, who were spending time with their family.

"We’ve been a band for a long time," Schlapman said during their acceptance speech. "Family has always been most important to us and tonight Karen and Jimi’s family are going through some of their very darkest days. Jimi’s sister passed away from cancer three days ago. They’re with their family and we wouldn’t have it any other way. We're so glad they’re there."

She added: "Tonight when we think about Joyce we think about her spirit and her love and her gorgeous smile and her incredible personality and the fight she gave that horrible disease. Tonight, Joyce, this is for you."

Westbrook shared the news of his loss on Instagram with a photo of his sister and said she was "one of the funniest people I’ve ever known. She was so full of life and light and if you were around her, chances are, you were laughing."

The singer's family is asking those who want to honor his sister to make a donation to the Sarah Cannon Research Institute at 250 25th Ave. North, Suite 100 Nashville, TN 37203.

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