The death of Hank Williams, country music’s first huge superstar, is still a bit of a mystery. The exact cause of death will never be known and what played out over Williams’ final 48 hours is also foggy at best.
What we do know is that Williams died when he was just 29 years old. On December 30, 1952, Williams was driving around in his 1952 Cadillac with his stage suits, guitar, and other items he thought would be needed on a short tour through Ohio and West Virginia. Williams picked up Charles Carr, a college freshman Williams had hired to chauffeur him on the tour, and the two drove around Montgomery, Alabama.
During the tour, soon after the two drove across the West Virginia state line, Carr stopped at a gas station to fill the Cadillac’s tank. At that time, Carr noticed that Williams was passed out in the back seat. When he checked on him, Williams’ body was unresponsive and becoming rigid; he was dead. It’s unclear what killed Williams, but we do know that he drank often on the tour and had asked his doctor to give him a shot of morphine to help with his back pain. Much has been made of these habits, but it’s unclear if the contributed to his demise or not.
The Cadillac in which Williams’ body was found, the car he used on that final tour, is now preserved at the Hank Williams Museum in Montgomery, Alabama. It is the centerpiece of the museum, which is also filled with memorabilia and portraits and more.
Know Before You Go
Hank Williams' death car is located in downtown Montgomery on the east side of Commerce St. just north of Bibb St. It's three blocks west of city hall, or seven blocks east of I-65 exit 172.