October 8

Remembering The Death Of Billy Joe Shaver, Who Helped Inspire The Outlaw Movement In Country Music

On October 28, 2020, Billy Joe Shaver died from a stroke. He was 81.

A few days before his death, Shaver was rushed to the hospital after falling off a swing that required the country icon to undergo hip surgery and treatment at a rehab facility. The following weekend, Shaver began texting friends, telling them he loved them – this includes Willie Nelson’s ex-wife, Connie Nelson, country singer Tanya Tucker, and Nashville producer Gary Nicholson.

While Shaver was in good spirits, with the thoughts that he’ll soon be leaving the rehabilitation center and be able to come home soon, he sadly suffered a massive stroke that made him unresponsive. The following day, Shaver was taken off life support.

He Was A Performer Until His Death

Billy Joe Shaver had a history of health problems, including hip and knee replacement surgery. Still, he continued to tour regularly, though he sometimes had to reschedule or cancel scheduled performances due to health issues. And every time he did, the singer promised to return on the road as soon as possible.

In 2001, he had a heart attack right there on the stage of the famous Gruene Hall in Texas in the middle of his performance. He felt it was the end – and somehow, wanted it to be. “Thank you, Lord, for letting me die in the oldest honky-tonk in Texas,” he thought to himself. In 2016, Shaver fell in and needed to stay in the hospital, but he was always quick to come back to his feet and started touring again despite the swirling death rumors.

He was definitely a force to be reckoned with. And we can all perhaps agree that Billy Joe Shaver songs are some of the greatest in country music. His fascinating songwriting skills earned him recognition in 2004 when he became a member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.


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