Steven Curtis Chapman's youngest child died Wednesday after being struck by a car driven by her teenage brother in the driveway of the family's Tennessee home.
Maria Sue was taken by LifeFlight to Vanderbilt Hospital, which confirmed the death, according to Laura McPherson, a spokeswoman for the Tennessee Highway Patrol.
The 5-year-old was hit by an SUV driven by her teenage brother. Police did not give the young man's name or age.
The accident occurred at about 5:30 p.m., when the teen was driving down the driveway of their home in Williamson County just south of Nashville.
Several children were playing in the area but Chapman's son did not see his sister in the driveway before the vehicle struck her, McPherson said.
"It appears to be a terrible accident,'' she said, adding that no charges are expected.
The accident was witnessed by two other children; the entire family was home at the time.
Singer/songwriter Chapman, who recently was inducted into Music City Walk of Fame, is one of contemporary Christian music's most recognizable and most awarded names.
Chapman, who is originally from Paducah, Ky., and his wife have promoted international adoption and have three daughters from China, including Maria Sue. They also have three biological children.
The singer's Web site says the couple's oldest daughter persuaded them to adopt a girl from China. They eventually adopted two more children and created Shaohannah's Hope, a foundation and ministry to financially assist thousands of couples in adoption.
The Chapmans did missionary work at Chinese orphanages in 2006 and 2007, according to the Web site.
"After our first trip to China, my wife and I knew our lives were changing - our eyes and hearts were opening to how big God really is, and we have wanted to experience more of that," Chapman says on the Web site.
"We've really wondered whether or not we should just go to China and stay there. But I don't think so. I believe God is saying, 'I want you to go, get your heart broken, your eyes opened, and then take this story back to the church in America and around the world.'"
The 45-year-old singer also has released a book about being a father titled Cinderella: The Love of Daddy and his Princess. He has won five Grammy awards and 54 Dove awards from the Gospel Music Association.
"I don't know of anybody who loves his children more than he does and is so committed to the adoption concept, and to lose one, no matter what the circumstances, is heartbreaking beyond all comprehension," John Styll, president of the Nashville-based Gospel Music Association, told the Tennessean.
"He talks about his kids all the time. That's his life. His kids are more important to him than music, that's for sure," he added.
Word of the tragedy spread throughout the Christian music community on Wednesday evening. Styll got the news not long after Maria's death.
"I'm confident I can speak for everyone in the community to say we will do everything we can to support this family, as we would do at any time, but especially at a time like this," Styll said.
Most of the Chapman family was at Vanderbilt children's hospital after the accident and could not be contacted.
Source: The Associated Press, The Tennessean, StevenCurtisChapman.com
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