It's an emotional first Grammy win for Rory Feek.

The country-bluegrass singer took home best roots gospel album Sunday for Hymns That Are Important To Us, his last album with late wife Joey of musical duo Joey + Rory.

Joey died last year at age 40 after a nearly two-year battle with cervical cancer, leaving behind three young children. When she started working on seventh album Hymns, "she was sick and going through treatment, (but) we completely believed she was going to be OK," Rory, 51, told reporters Sunday afternoon. "We didn't go into recording this album thinking it was her last, it just became her last."

The album is a collection of hymns that Joey grew up loving and was recorded in hotel rooms around the country as she underwent chemotherapy and radiation. By the time the album was released last February, "she was in her final weeks," Rory said. "Right as the album came out, we watched the Grammys together and she said, 'If we get nominated next year, you have to promise me that you'll go.' And I said, 'I will.' And she said, with a big smile on her face, 'You know, if you win, I'm going to know the answer before you will,' which is pretty special."

Rory's memoir This Life I Live, a collection of essays about his relationship and family with Joey, hits shelves Tuesday.