On April 6, 1998, the world lost The First Lady of Country Music. Tammy Wynette died while taking a nap on a living-room couch at her Nashville home. The cause of her death was believed to have been a blood clot in the lungs – however, the time of her death was never established, and there was no autopsy performed. She was 55 years old.
What Could Have Caused Her Death
A year later, Tammy Wynette‘s body was exhumed. Her widower, country music producer, and songwriter George Richey – the singer’s fifth husband – became the subject of a $50 million wrongful death lawsuit filed by Wynette’s three daughters. He requested an autopsy to “clarify for everyone how Tammy died so we can all move on.”
Before her death, Wynette had a series of health problems and had become terribly addicted to strong painkillers, mainly Demerol, Dilaudid, and Versed, which she injected with syringes. The singer’s daughters, Tina Jones, Georgette Smith, and Jackie Daly, claimed that Richey did not seek medical care for their mother and failed to closely monitor her fragile condition.
However, the medical examiner who performed Wynette’s autopsy revealed that while there was no indication of an existing clot during the singer’s death, the long-term nature of her condition compromised her lung arteries – leading to the cardiac arrhythmia that caused her death.
The doctor then concluded that it was indeed a natural death.
While it was never sure what caused the country icon’s death, Tammy Wynette songs will undoubtedly live forever. She will forever be remembered for her achingly vulnerable singing voice that also possessed a resilience and willpower that set her apart from the cliches in country music history.