If you lived in the 20th century and were a fan of country music, then chances are some of your favorite songs are those of Hank Williams. Hank broke into the mainstream in the 1940s with his song “Lovesick Blues.” During his brief period of musical activity, Hanks had a considerable impact. Unfortunately, alcoholism and drug addiction ended his life quite early. He died in 1953, at the age of 29.

His music has influenced the careers of music greats like Rolling Stones, Elvis Presley, Perry Como, Dinah Washington and Bob Dylan. His singer-songwriter son, Hank Willams Jr. continues to uphold his legacy. About a decade after his death, Hank Williams was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. In 2010, he was posthumously awarded the Pulitzer Prize, a Special Prize and a citation for his pivotal role in transforming country music. The 2015 biopic, “I Saw the Light,” chronicles the life of Hank Williams.

Hank Williams Biography (Age)

Hank Williams was born on September 17, 1923, in Mount Olive, Butler County, Alabama, the third child of World War I veteran Elonzo Huble “Lon” Williams, of English ancestry, and his wife Jessie Lillybelle “Lillie” (née Skipper ). Their second child had passed away, making Hank their second living child alongside his older sister, Irene.

Freemasonry, Hank’s father called it Hiramafter Hiram I of Tyr, one of the three founders of Masonry. However, after the name was misspelled as Hirian in his birth certificate, his parents changed it to Hank. Hank was born with spinal bifida, an incurable defect in the spine of a child that left him until his death.

Hank’s father was injured in a truck accident which later caused him to develop facial paralysis which saw him spend eight years at the Veteran Affairs Medical Center in Alexandria, Louisiana. Thus, he was absent for most of Hanks’ childhood. Hank’s mother, Lille, had to work several times to support her two children.

At a time when his family was living in Georgiana, Alabama, Hanks met a street performer, Rufus “Tee-Tot” Payne, who began giving him guitar lessons in exchange for meals cooked by his mother or money. Hank Williams proved to be a quick learner and started entering talent contests. He then caught the attention of producers at the WSFA radio studio who invited him to perform on the air. He performed twice a week and received a weekly stipend of $15. With the money Hank founded his winning band Drifting Cowboys and the rest is history.

His death

Dubbed the king of country music, Hank Williams was great with what he did but unfortunately he couldn’t keep his appetite for booze together and soon that became his end. Williams, born with spina bifida, reportedly used alcohol to relieve back pain. Unfortunately, his alcohol abuse not only had a negative impact on his emotions expressed in many of his songs, but also on his health.

Alcoholism led to him being fired from the GrandOle Opry which deemed him unreliable. In the early 1950s, his declining health became apparent. He suffered a minor heart attack in 1951, during which time he gained more weight as he lost hair. On December 30, 1952, Williams collapsed in his hotel room in Knoxville, Tennessee.

He was scheduled to perform at the MunicipalAuditorium in Charleston, West Virginia the following day. After the collapse, Williams was allowed to travel, but he was unable to do so by air due to an ice storm that rocked Nashville that day. He then hired a student named Charles Carr to drive him in his powder blue 1952 Cadillac to the venue.

Upon entering Oak Hill, West Virginia, Carr checked on Williams after he had gone quiet for an extended period, only to find him lying in the back seat unresponsive. Williams was later confirmed dead. An autopsy was performed on him and the results showed that he died from a haemorrhage in his heart and neck.

Hank Williams was buried on Sunday, January 4, 1953, in Montgomery, Alabama. His funeral would be the largest event ever held in Montgomery, as well as the largest event held for an Alabama citizen.

Hank Williams’ Family, Wife and Children

Hank Williams’ family life has been tumultuous for most of his short life. When he was 20, he started dating a woman named Audrey Sheppard, who had just come out of a bad marriage and had a child. On December 15, 1944, Williams married her while she was not yet legally divorced from her ex-husband.

With the complications surrounding their union, their relationship was bound to have problems. Williams’ drinking problems only made matters worse. On May 26, 1949, Williams and Sheppard welcomed their first child, Hank Williams Jr. On May 29, 1952, the couple divorced.

A month later, Williams began living with her mother and soon began a relationship with Billie Jean Jones Eshlimar, who would go on to become a country musician in her own right. They married on October 18, 1952. Like his first wife, Billie had still not legalized her divorce from her previous husband. They had a daughter, Jett Williams, born January 6, 1953, five days after William’s death.

Both children of Hank Williams are actively involved in music. Williams Jr not only sings but is also a multi-instrumentalist playing guitar, keyboard, harmonica and saxophone. He is married and the father of two children. Hank Williams III and Holly Williams, both active musicians.

Hanks’ posthumous child, Jett Williams, was adopted by his paternal grandparents when he was born. They renamed her Catherine Yvonne Stone and after her grandmother passed away a year later, she was adopted by a couple from Alabama who renamed her Cathy Louise Deupree. Although Jett knew she was an adopted child, she didn’t know who her biological parents were until her late twenties.

With the help of an investigative attorney, Keith Adkinson, Jett was able to convince the court that she was indeed Hank Williams’ biological daughter. Hank Williams Jr and herself were in a bad mood and opposed the court’s decision that Jett is entitled to half of their father’s estate. Despite his appeal, the decision stood, with the court overturning it in 1990.