Country music is one of the oldest and most popular musical genres in history.
Country music icon Hank Williams was one of America’s leading singers in the 1940s.
On this day in history, January 1, 1953, music legend Williams died at the age of just 29.
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Hank Williams was born Hiram King Williams in Mount Olive, Alabama, into a family of strawberry farmers and log company workers, according to the Country Music Hall of Fame.
In addition to growing up in a family that dealt with poverty, Williams himself managed a different kind of struggle.
Williams was born with a spinal deformity called subclinical spina bifida.
In this condition, small gaps develop between the bones of the spine as a result of imperfect formation during pregnancy of the mother.
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As a result, Williams experienced pain throughout her life.
According to Britannica, he started playing guitar when he was just eight years old and made his first radio debut at age 13.
In 1937, Williams’ mother moved the family to Montgomery, Alabama, and Williams formed his first band, named Hank Williams and his Drifting Cowboys, when he was 14.
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Williams was exempt from military service during the war due to a spinal deformity, but many of his bandmates were called up for military service. It made it difficult for the band to continue.
According to the Country Music Hall of Fame, he spent time between Montgomery, who played music, and Mobil, who worked at a shipyard.
Williams married his manager, Audrey May Shepherd, in December 1944 and restarted the Drifting Cowboys after the war.
“Lovesick Blues” was a hit in 1949 and qualified for the Grand Ole Opry that same year.
Known for his lyrics and ability to produce successful country hits, Williams was considered the “Hillbilly Shakespeare” of his time.
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His other smash hits include “I’m Lonely to Cry”, “Jambalaya”, “Your Cheating Heart” and “Hey Good Look In”.
After divorcing Audrey in 1952, he married singer Billie Jean Horton.
Just two months later, Williams died of heart failure.
According to Britannica, his death may have been due to years of drug and alcohol abuse.
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He and Audrey have a son together, Hank Williams Jr., who has a successful music career himself.
Born in May 1949, currently 73 years old.