Country Legend Billy Joe Shaver Dies at 81 Following Stroke

The country songwriter who received the Academy of Country Music's Poets Award last year has passed away at the age of 81 in Waco, Texas after suffering from a stroke.

AceShowbiz - Songwriter Billy Joe Shaver has died.

The 81 year old passed away after suffering a stroke on Wednesday (28Oct20) in Waco, Texas.

Shaver, who once lost two of his fingers in a lumber mill accident, was discovered by country legend Waylon Jennings.

He wrote a handful of tracks that Jennings recorded on his 1973 album "Honky Tonk Heroes".

Shaver went on to write songs like "Live Forever", "Georgia on a Fast Train", and "Old Chunk of Coal" that became hits for other acts, such as John Anderson, and he also enjoyed solo success.

The songwriter's personal life was marred by tragedy - his wife, Brenda Joyce Tindell, who he divorced and remarried several times, lost her battle with cancer in 1999, and their son, John Edwin Shaver, died after suffering a heroin overdose on New Year's Eve in 2000.

Shaver also made headlines in 2007 and 2008 after he was charged with shooting a man in a Lorena, Texas bar. He was later acquitted of aggravated assault by a McLennan County jury. Friends Willie Nelson and Robert Duvall appeared as character witnesses.

But he was beloved as a "country outlaw," picking up the Academy of Country Music's Poets Award in 2019.

Jason Isbell, Travis Tritt, and U.S. newsman Dan Rather were among the first stars to pay tribute to the late songwriter after news of his death broke.

Isbell wrote, "Billy Joe Shaver might've been the only true outlaw who ever made his living writing about the inner workings of his heart. The realest of them all."

Tritt added, "I'm saddened to learn that Billy Joe Shaver has passed away. Billy Joe opened for me on one of my early tours and was always amazing. His stories were captivating. He will be sorely missed. My condolences go out to his family, friends and fans."

Meanwhile, Rather tweeted, "Another great Texas music icon is gone. Billy Joe Shaver was a bona fide, certified, Lone Star original - a throwback to a far different time. This was echoed in the music he wrote and performed over a long and very adventurous life."

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