26 Years Ago Today: George Jones Undergoes Triple Bypass on His Birthday
George Jones had an unforgettable 63rd birthday, even though he might have preferred to forget all about it. The country legend turned 63 on Sept. 12, 1994, and he marked the occasion by having to undergo triple bypass surgery.
Jones started experiencing symptoms and was taken to Nashville's Baptist Hospital on the previous Friday, and after doctors discovered coronary artery blockages, he underwent surgery. The iconic singer spent a week in the hospital recuperating, during which time many of his fellow country stars offered their support.
Connie Smith came in and spent time with Jones' wife, Nancy, in the waiting room, while Waylon Jennings was among the stars who showed up to lift his spirits in person. Reba McEntire and Garth Brooks both sent huge flower arrangements, Jones recalled to Country Weekly, adding, "When the chips are down, there's no denying that country stars are there for each other" (quote via the Boot).
George Jones and More Country Singers' Brushes With Death
The Orlando Sentinel reported that Jones' surgery was followed by a cardiac rehabilitation program lasting eight weeks.
The triple bypass served as a warning to Jones to change some of his health habits. He told Country Weekly he was "generally living life at a slower pace," but he continued to struggle with alcohol for several more years. A life-threatening car crash while drinking and driving in March of 1999 finally scared Jones straight for good, and he abstained from alcohol from then until his death from respiratory problems at age 81 on April 26, 2013.