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AUSTIN, TEXAS - DECEMBER 31:  Billy Gibbons performs in concert with Willie Nelson on New Years Eve at ACL Live on December 31, 2018 in Austin, Texas.  (Photo by Gary Miller/Getty Images)
The Tragic Life Of Willie Nelson’s Son, Billy Nelson
History - Science
Content Warning
This story contains discussions of suicide and domestic abuse.
In 1991, 33-year-old Billy Nelson — the son of the famous country singer Willie Nelson — was found dead in his log cabin in Davidson County, Tennessee. His death was ruled a suicide, and his father, who had been recording an album with him, later said that he’d “never experienced anything so devastating in [his] life.”
Billy had been struggling with alcoholism for a while, undergoing a 30-day program for alcohol abuse in 1990 after he was arrested and charged with DUI four times. Although his friend Buddy Frank said that he appeared fine the day before he died, records indicate that he was legally drunk at the time of his death.
In fact, Billy had been burdened since his early life — his father Willie was rarely present when he was young, and his mother once beat up his father because she had had enough of his carousing around. In addition, Billy experienced two tragedies in 1989: the death of his mother and his separation from his wife, Janet Caldwell.