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Source: Getty images

Details Behind Willie Nelson's Son's Tragic Death

Comfort Omovre
Jun 09, 2019
07:29 A.M.
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In the early '90s, famous country singer Willie Nelson’s son, Billy Nelson, passed away from unforeseen circumstances.


The early '90s proved to be a very terrible time for Willie Nelson as news of his son's tragic death hit the media. At the time, Billy, who was only 33 years old, was discovered dead and hanging from a cord in his Nashville home.

Willie Nelson on October 5, 2003 in San Francisco, California | Source: Getty Images


Learning the tragic news

According to reports, a friend of the deceased found him on December 25, 1991, and a Medical Examiner, Dr. Charles Harlan confirmed that the death was a suicide.

The authorities revealed that Billy’s famous father, Willie Nelson, was away in Abbott, Texas when he received the heart-rending news. Evelyn Shriver, a spokesperson for Willie, made a statement the very next day to confirm the reports and also disclosed that Willie "is very sad and trying to deal with it."


Billy Nelson is the product of Willie's very first marriage in the early fifties; his ten-year union to Martha Matthews. It was a rather infamous union, and although it lasted about a decade, it was a horrible time for the Nelson household.

Unlike what you might have been thinking, it wasn't Willie doing the assaulting, it was Martha, and no doubt experiencing that may have been a very terrible time for their three children: Lana, Susie, and Willie "Billy" Hugh, Jr.


Billy died two years after his mother's death

Billy's suicide came after his mother's death two years prior and just a year after he checked into a rehab center for his alcohol abuse. However, reports have it that there was nothing to hint at Billy having troubling thoughts.

Bonnie Garner, a spokeswoman for Nelson's management company, Mark Rothbaum Associates said:

"Willie was here in Nashville the week before last and spent some time with Billy, and everyone thought everything was fine."


Garner also went on to explain that Willie's sole coping mechanism at the time was his faith. She said:

"Willie's a firm believer in reincarnation and all of that, you know, so that makes it easier to take."

Despite the tragedy happening decades ago, Willie still keeps his memories of Billy alive. Before his untimely demise, Billy Nelson, who had only married once, recorded a gospel track with his award-winning star father.


The song entitled “My Body’s Just a Suitcase for My Soul" is one that has kept Billy alive and as a beautiful memory. Willie even made sure to include the track on his 1994  gospel album, Peace in the Valley, thus immortalizing the memory of his son. May Billy's soul rest in peace. 

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text “help” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to