Newspaper clippings · West Virginia

The death of Hank Williams 

January 1, 1953

Oak Hill, West Virginia 

Hiram King “Hank” Williams dies on the road at just 29 years old

Williams was born with spina bifida occulta which caused unending pain and lead to Williams abusing drugs and alcohol to alleviate the pain. On January 1, Williams’ chauffeur, Charles Carr (19), asked Williams if he wanted anything to eat from an all-night diner. Williams replied he did not. Carr drove until reaching a gas station where he noticed Williams apparently sleeping, checked on him, and discovered he had died and police were notified. Officially, his death certificate lists heart failure as the cause of death.

However, some controversy surrounds the death, including the fact that rigor mortis had already set in by the time he was discovered to have passed, which sets in as soon as 4 hours after a person dies. Some believe he was placed in the car after he had died while others think Carr, who was young and possibly nervous, had driven several hours after Williams died, unsure of how to handle the situation.

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