Tag: Johnny Cash

Rolling Stone photo

Twist of fate gave Waylon Jennings life — and guilt

Remembering Waylon “Hoss” Jennings, who died on February 13, 2002. He was 64.

In 1959, Waylon was a member of Buddy Holly’s band that was on a “Winter Dance Party” tour of the Midwest. Waylon and Buddy, both 22, were teen-age friends from Lubbock, Texas.

The weather in Minnesota that February night was rotten and Buddy decided to leave the tour bus and charter a small plane to get to the next venue in Moorhead, Minnesota.


The plane had room for only three passengers. It was decided that Buddy, Waylon and band member Tommy Allsup would take take the plane, but band member The Big Bopper (J.P. Richardson) had the flu and wanted to get to Moorhead as soon as he could and asked Waylon for his seat on the plane.

When Buddy was told that Waylon was not going on the plane he said to his friend in jest, “Well, I hope your ol’ bus freezes up.” And Waylon replied in jest, “Well, I hope your ol’ plane crashes.”

About an hour and a half later, around 1 a.m., the plane crashed into a cornfield outside Mason City, Iowa, killing the three musicians and the pilot.

Crash site

The casual joke haunted Waylon for the rest of his life and led to years of cocaine addiction.

In another twist of fate that night, 17-year-old band member Ritchie Valens asked Tommy Allsup for his seat on the plane. They tossed a coin to decide and Ritchie won the toss — and lost his life.

*[Backstory below]


Waylon lived another 42 years and recorded 60 albums, including sixteen country singles that topped the charts.

In the mid-1980s, he teamed up with Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson to form the quartet ‘The Highwaymen,’ making records and doing concert tours.

Waylon Jennings was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in October 2001.


Die a day apart

Death by broken heart

To all the grieving people out there — Watch that left ventricle

People do actually die of a broken heart. There are many famous examples, including the actress Debbie Reynolds, singer Johnny Cash, and the American writer Jim Harrison.

‘Broken-heart syndrome’ — Takotsubo cardiomyopathy — is a weakening of the left ventricle, the heart’s main pumping chamber.

One of main causes is severe emotional and physical stress from the loss of a loved one.


Surging stress hormones (e.g. adrenaline) “stun” the heart, triggering changes in heart muscle cells and/or coronary blood vessels that prevent the left ventricle from contracting effectively.

Takotsubo symptoms — chest pain and shortness of breath — are indistinguishable from those of a heart attack. Most cases occur in women between the ages of 58 and 75. The condition was first described in 1990 in Japan. (Source: Harvard Medical School)

Debbie Reynolds died of a stroke one day after her daughter Carrie Fisher died of a heart attack in 2016. Debbie’s last words were:

“I miss her so much, I want to be with Carrie.”

Johnny Cash died four months after his beloved wife June Carter Cash died of heart surgery complications in 2003.

Johnny was being treated for diabetes, which extreme grief turned into a deadly condition.

Jim Harrison died of a heart attack at the age of 78 in 2016, a little over five months after the death of his wife Linda. “After she died,” Harrison said of his wife of 55 years, “I was so depressed I was thinking of suicide.”

Just hours after ‘Dr Who’ actress
Mary Tamm died of cancer in 2012, her husband Marcus Ringrose died. He had just delivered the eulogy at Mary’s funeral and was sitting at his computer writing thank you notes to those who had sent condolences.

Doug Flutie’s parents

The parents of former Boston College football star and NFL quarterback Doug Flutie passed away within minutes of one another in 2015. Flutie’s father Richard died of a heart attack and less than an hour later, his mother Joan, devastated from the loss, also suffered a fatal heart attack.

There are countless other less famous broken-heart deaths.

I’m coming with you.”

British couple George and Pat Pittman were married for 55 years after first meeting on a blind date and then marrying on Valentine’s Day, 1959. As Pat lay dying in a hospital bed in 2015, George whispered to her, “Close your eyes, I’m coming with you.” Twenty one hours later George died.

All he wanted was to be with her.”

Californian couple Don and Maxine Simpson died four hours apart in August of last year. Don had held Maxine’s hand during her final hours and after her body was removed from the room, Don also died. “All he wanted was to be with his beautiful wife,” a grandson said. “He loved her to the end of the earth.”