Their second child had died, making Hank their second child alive alongside his eldest sister Irene. However, after the name was misspelled as Hirian on his birth certificate, his parents changed it to Hank. Hank Williams proved to be a fast learner and began entering talent shows.
Hank Williams Wife, Children, Age, Family, Death, Biography
Unfortunately, his alcohol abuse not only took its toll on his emotions as expressed in a number of his songs but also his health. Alcoholism led to him being fired from the Grand Ole Opry who deemed him unreliable. In the early s, his waning health became visible.
He suffered a minor heart attack in , a period he gained more weight while losing hair. On December 30th, , Williams collapsed in his hotel room at Knoxville, Tennessee. He was scheduled to perform at the Municipal Auditorium in Charleston, West Virginia the following day. Wiliams was later confirmed dead.
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His funeral was said to be the largest event ever held in Montgomery as well as the largest event held for a citizen of Alabama. On December 15, , Williams married her while she was yet to be legally divorced from her ex-husband. When he was eight years old, he was given a guitar by his mother. His musical education was provided by a local blues street singer, Rufus Payne, who was called Tee Tot. From Tee Tot, Williams learned how to play the guitar and sing the blues, which would come to provide a strong undercurrent in his songwriting.
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Williams began performing around the Georgiana and Greenville areas of Alabama in his early teens. His mother moved the family to Montgomery, AL, in , where she opened a boarding house. During his shows, Williams would sing songs from his idol, Roy Acuff , as well as several other country hits of the day. The following year, the couple married and moved into Lilly's boarding house. Audrey became Williams ' manager just before the marriage. By , he was a local celebrity, but he was unable to make much headway nationally.
Rose liked Williams ' songs and asked him to record two sessions for Sterling Records, which resulted in two singles. Rose became the singer's manager and record producer. It was an immediate hit, climbing into the country Top Five. By the summer of , he had joined The Louisiana Hayride, appearing both on its tours and radio programs.
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The single became a huge hit upon its release in the spring of , staying at number one for 16 weeks and crossing over into the pop Top Williams sang the song at the Grand Ole Opry, where he performed an unprecedented six encores. He had become a star. Hank and Audrey Williams had their first child, Randall Hank , in the spring of Williams continued to rack up hits in , beginning with the Top Ten hit "Dear John" and its number one flip side, "Cold, Cold Heart.
Williams had also begun to experience the fruits of crossover success, appearing on the Perry Como television show and joining a package tour that also featured Bob Hope , Jack Benny , and Minny Pearl. Though his professional career was soaring, Hank 's personal life was beginning to spin out of control. He had suffered a mild drinking problem before becoming a star, but it had been more or less controlled during his first few years of fame.
However, as he began to earn large amounts of money and spend long times away from home, he began to drink frequently. Furthermore, Hank 's marriage to Audrey was deteriorating. Not only were they fighting, resulting in occasional separations, but Audrey was trying to create her own recording career without any success. In the fall of , Hank was on a hunting trip on his Tennessee farm when he tripped and fell, re-activating a dormant back injury.
Williams began taking morphine and other painkillers for his back and quickly became addicted. In January of , Hank and Audrey separated for a final time and he headed back to Montgomery to live with his mother. The move had little effect on his music career, however, with "Honky Tonk Blues" peaking at number two during the spring.
In spite of such success, Hank turned completely reckless in , spending nearly all of his waking hours drunk and taking drugs. He also frequently destroyed property and played with guns. Williams left his mother in early spring, moving in with Ray Price in Nashville. In May, Audrey and Hank were officially divorced. She was awarded the house and their child, as well as half of his future royalties.
Williams continued to play a large number of concerts, but he was always drunk during the show, and he sometimes missed the gig altogether. In August, the Grand Ole Opry fired Williams for that very reason, explaining that he could return once he was sober. Instead of heeding the Opry's warning, the singer just sank deeper into his self-destructive behavior. Soon, his friends were leaving him, as the Drifting Cowboys began working with Price and Fred Rose no longer supported him.