Four years ago (July 7, 2013) Randy Travis suffered a debilitating stroke. Just a few days earlier, the country legend had been in good health, working out in his home gym and spending time with his now-wife, Mary. But just hours later, Travis was admitted to a Dallas hospital for congestive heart failure. Later on that evening, Travis complained to Mary that he was having difficulty breathing. Travis’ lungs were filled with fluid and he lost consciousness. Days later, doctors realized that the singer had suffered a stroke that left him with a one or two percent chance of survival.
But with the support of family and friends, Travis has made an incredible recovery. He’s re-gaining conversation skills, re-learning how to write and play guitar and still bringing crowds to their feet.
To say Randy Travis helped change the trajectory of country music is an understatement. In the wake of an increasingly Urban Cowboy–style pop format, the neo-traditionalist singer brought country back to its core with his 1986 album Storms of Life.
When Travis was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame last year, Garth Brooks said that Travis “took a format, turned it 180 degrees… back to where it came from and made it bigger than it has ever been before.”
Travis is an indelible part of the fabric of country music, and his voice is one that the country music community couldn’t stand to lose. Thankfully, Travis had no intention of letting that happen.
After months of rehabilitation, the country legend was able to sing “Amazing Grace” during his Hall of Fame induction, a pretty miraculous feat considering Travis’ was in such a dire condition following his stroke that he flatlined three times.
The song has become Travis’ anthem as he undergoes rehabilitation.
And that wasn’t even Travis’ first public appearance since the health crisis. The singer appeared on the Grand Ole Opry just two years after his stroke and last year he made an unforgettable appearance at the CMA Awards, where he sang the final line of his iconic 1987 hit “Forever and Ever, Amen.”
A New Start
The country music community has rallied behind Travis during his recovery process. Back in February, thousands packed Nashville’s Bridgestone arena for a star studded tribute concert.
Although the singer is still regaining his strength, he’s made tremendous strides in just four years. According to Travis’ wife Mary, the singer is regaining use of his right arm and leg and uses his left hand to play guitar. Incredibly, he still remembers all of his song lyrics.
READ MORE: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Randy Travis
And Travis is using his battle to empower others. He and his wife formed the Randy Travis Foundation, an organization dedication to raising awareness for viral cardiomyopathy and providing medical funding.
Randy Travis embodies the spirit and grace of country music and continues to serve as a beacon for a new generation.