Johnny Cash Cause of Death: The Grand Ole Opry Celebrates His Legacy

Johnny Cash was one of the most influential and popular country music artists of all time. He was known for his distinctive voice, his rebellious and compassionate persona, and his diverse musical style that spanned genres such as rockabilly, rock and roll, folk, blues, gospel, and outlaw country. He had a long and successful career that lasted from the 1950s until his death in 2003.

But how did Johnny Cash die? What were the health issues that plagued him in his later years? And did he die of a broken heart after losing his beloved wife, June Carter Cash? In this article, we will try to answer these questions and provide some facts and insights into Johnny Cash’s death.

Johnny Cash Cause of Death: How Did Johnny Cash Die?

According to the official statement released by his manager, Lou Robin, Johnny Cash died of complications from diabetes on September 12, 2003, at the age of 71. He passed away at Baptist Hospital in Nashville, Tennessee, around 2:00 a.m. CT. He was surrounded by his family and friends, including his children, his brother Tommy Cash, and his longtime producer Rick Rubin.

Grand Ole Opry to Pay Tribute to Johnny Cash on 20th Anniversary of His Death

The event, titled “Opry Honors Johnny Cash”, will include performances by Rodney Crowell, The War and Treaty, William Beckman, and Opry members the Gatlin Brothers, Chris Janson, and Jamey Johnson. The night will also mark the Opry debut of the Tennessee Four, a group composed of Cash’s oldest grandson, Thomas Gabriel, on vocals, and three musicians who played with Cash: guitarist Kerry Marx, bassist Dave Roe, and drummer Paul Leim.

Cash made his Opry debut in July 1956, singing “I Walk the Line”, “Get Rhythm”, and “So Doggone Lonesome”. He became a member of the Opry in 1958 and remained one until his death. He had a tumultuous relationship with the Opry, being banned from the show in 1965 after he broke the stage lights with his microphone stand. He was welcomed back in 1968 and performed regularly until his health declined in the late 1990s.

Cash is widely regarded as one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, crossing genres such as country, rock, folk, gospel, and blues. He sold more than 90 million records worldwide and won multiple Grammy Awards, including a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1999.

He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. He is also known for his collaborations with other artists, such as his wife June Carter Cash, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson, U2, and Nine Inch Nails.

The “Opry Honors Johnny Cash” show will be broadcast live on SiriusXM Willie’s Roadhouse channel and on WSM Radio. Tickets are available at or by calling (615) 871-OPRY. The show is expected to be a sell-out, as fans from all over the world will flock to Nashville to pay tribute to the legendary “Man in Black”.

The Grand Ole Opry will remember Johnny Cash on the 20th anniversary of his passing:

What Were the Health Issues That Plagued Johnny Cash in His Later Years?

Johnny Cash had a history of drug abuse and addiction that affected his physical and mental health throughout his life. He started using amphetamines and barbiturates in the 1950s to cope with the stress and demands of touring and performing. He also suffered from chronic pain due to a degenerative bone condition in his jaw.

He overdosed several times and was hospitalized for drug-related problems. He eventually quit drugs in the late 1960s with the help of his second wife, June Carter Cash, whom he married in 1968. However, quitting drugs did not end his health troubles. In the 1970s, he developed a heart condition that required a double bypass surgery in 1988.

He also contracted pneumonia twice in the 1990s, which damaged his lungs and weakened his immune system. In 1997, he was diagnosed with Shy-Drager syndrome, a rare neurological disorder that causes progressive deterioration of the autonomic nervous system.

However, this diagnosis was later revised to autonomic neuropathy associated with diabetes, which meant that he had nerve damage due to high blood sugar levels. This condition affected his ability to perform and tour, as well as his vision, hearing, balance, and digestion.

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Did Johnny Cash Die of a Broken Heart After Losing His Beloved Wife, June Carter Cash?

Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash had one of the most enduring and celebrated love stories in music history. They met backstage at the Grand Ole Opry in 1955 and started touring together in the early 1960s. They fell in love despite both being married to other people at the time. They finally got married in 1968 after Johnny proposed to June on stage during a concert in Ontario.

They remained devoted to each other until June’s death on May 15, 2003, from complications during a heart valve replacement surgery. Johnny was devastated by June’s death and expressed his grief and love for her in a statement he released shortly after her passing.

He said: “The spirit of June Carter overshadows me tonight with the love she had for me and the love I have for her. We connect somewhere between here and Heaven. She came down for a short visit, I guess, from Heaven to visit with me tonight to give me courage and inspiration like she always has. She’s never been one for me except courage and inspiration. I thank God for June Carter. I love her with all my heart.”

Johnny Cash talked about his wife, June Carter Cash, by reading a letter he wrote before he went on stage:

Many people believe that Johnny died of a broken heart after losing June, as he seemed to lose his will to live without her. His daughter Rosanne Cash said that he “died of a broken heart” in an interview with Larry King in 2005.

His son John Carter Cash also said that his father “missed my mother horribly” and that “the pain was too much for him” in an interview with CBS News in 2018. However, there is no scientific evidence to support the idea that grief can cause death directly. It is more likely that Johnny’s existing health problems were worsened by the stress and sadness of losing his wife.


Johnny Cash was a legendary musician who left behind a legacy of songs that touched millions of people around the world. He died of complications from diabetes on September 12, 2003, less than four months after his wife June Carter Cash died of complications during a heart surgery.

He had suffered from various health issues throughout his life, including drug addiction, heart disease, pneumonia, and nerve damage. He also endured the loss of his soulmate and partner, who had supported him and inspired him for 35 years. He died as he lived: with courage, dignity, and love.


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