Darius Rucker Shares the Biggest Lesson He Learned From His Late Mom

Darius Rucker has spent his career giving back, so much so that he was named Southerner of the Year by Southern Living magazine. In a new interview with the publication, Rucker shared that his compassion for others comes from his mother, Carolyn, who worked as a nurse at the Medical University of South Carolina and died of a heart attack in 1992.

"She came home, and no matter how tired she was, if you wanted some time or attention, she was always there to give it to you," Rucker previously said on the Biscuits & Jam podcast. "Compassion is something she really instilled in us — and empathy for other folks." The 54-year-old shared that Carolyn's heart for others showed up not just in her work, but in ever area of her life.

"My mom was a nurse my whole life," he told Southern Living. "It was not just her job. She lived it; she loved it. Her compassion for people was something she taught all of us — telling us to care about other folks and try to help. When you're a nurse, that's what you do. And it wasn't something she just did at work. She did it at home, in our community, and at our church."

Rucker added that he "absolutely" sees his mom's spirit in the health care workers who have been on the front lines of the pandemic over the past year. "You know, my mom has been gone for a long time now, and I still miss her dearly," he said. "But during this whole thing, I've thought about her so much. If I were a kid right now and my mom were a nurse, I would never see her because she would take every shift available to help people — not just the patients but the other nurses who just need a break."

Over the years, the "Beers and Sunshine" singer has raised over $2 million for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, serving as an ambassador and hosting yearly benefit concerts to raise funds for the organization. He has also supported public education and junior golf in his home state of South Carolina through nearly $3.2 million in donations from the Hootie & the Blowfish Foundation and co-chaired the campaign to build a children's hospital at the Medical University of South Carolina, where he has helped raise over $150 million.

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"This is the toughest time we may have seen in the history of our country," Rucker reflected. "Even when things are good, it's amazing how many people could use help. Whether you're supporting a charity or an orphanage or a hospital, it seems to brighten days and make people feel better — and isn't that what you're supposed to do?"