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Billy Ray Cyrus Honors Bisexual Teen Who Died By Suicide

Billy Ray Cyrus Honors Bisexual Teen Who Died By Suicide

He sang “Amazing Grace” at a memorial for the late teenager.

Country singer Billy Ray Cyrus was among those on hand Sunday after a community gathered to mourn Channing Smith, a 16-year-old student who died by suicide after being outed online.

Locals gathered at Coffee County Central High School in Manchester, Tennessee to call for an end to anti-LGBTQ+ bullying. Smith reportedly took his own life after a fellow student posted explicit text messages between him and another boy. Although he had not come out to family members at the time of his death, he had reportedly told a handful of friends that he identified as bisexual.

"Channing was one of those kids who loved with all his heart but he didn't really realize how many people loved him," his mother, Crystal Smith, said at this weekend's event, as the local news station WKRN reported.

Brother Joshua Smith added that Channing was "a kid with a heart in him that was the size of Texas."

Cyrus joined the group of mourners who gathered at Manchester's Rotary Amphitheatre to remember Channing's life after hearing about his passing on social media. The "Achy Breaky Heart" singer played "Amazing Grace," one of Channing's favorite songs, and posted video of the tribute on his Facebook page.

In a separate post, Cyrus honored Channing by saying the teenager's loss represented "greatness gone way too soon."

But in addition to memorializing him, the local community in Manchester has continued to call for #JusticeForChanning in the wake of the student's death. Crystal Smith wants Coffee County District Attorney Craig Northcott to press charges against the student who outed her son.

"The bullying [and] the cyberbullying has to stop," Crystal told attendees at the vigil.

Although family members have claimed they have been told the prosecutor's office will not press charges, Northcott said in a statement that "no charging decisions have been made by my office nor has the Coffee County Sheriff's Department asked for a decision since the investigation has not been completed."

While the district attorney added that he is" prohibited from commenting on an open investigation or prosecution," Northcott said he is "deeply saddened by the tragic loss."

RELATED | 16-Year-Old Channing Smith Dies By Suicide After Being Outed

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