Closer Weekly



Inside the country star’s brave recovery from a life-threatenin­g stroke.




The crowd roared as Randy Travis — who suffered a debilitati­ng stroke in 2013 — took to the stage at BeautyKind Unites: A Concert for Causes in Arlington, Texas, on March 25. They then joined the 57-year-old country music legend as he finished his brave rendition of “Amazing Grace,” rewarding their hero with a standing ovation. “It’s always hard to hold the tears back when that happens,” Randy’s wife, Mary Davis, tells Closer. “You realize the impact he has on lives.”

The “Forever and Ever, Amen” singer’s recovery has been tough, but his will’s been tougher. “He doesn’t sing exactly like he used to,” Mary admits, “but I so admire his courage to get up there and do all he can at this point in time, knowing that it’s going to keep getting better.” Although it’s still challengin­g for Randy to speak, he’s very clear about whether he was nervous to perform. “No,” he tells Closer with a hearty laugh. That dogged determinat­ion, Mary says, will likely get him to record again: “I think the world knows he has the spirit of a warrior.”

“Without my fans, I wouldn’t be who I am.”

— Randy


Many feared the worst when Randy’s signature baritone voice was silenced by his 2013 stroke, which occurred while he was receiving medical treatment for viral cardiomyop­athy, a disease that attacks the heart. “Doctors didn’t give him great chances or odds,” says Mary, who wed Randy in 2015 after a long engagement, “and it was really easy to get discourage­d when we were in the hospital for months.”

The singer, though, refused to give up. “Though he’s sweeter than honey, his spirit is tough as a boot, and he didn’t have anything but fight in him,” she adds. Through it all, one goal kept the six-time Grammy winner going: “To get back up on the stage,” she tells Closer. “That’s his home, and I know he misses it.”

Years of intensive physical and speech therapies have allowed Randy to progress in what Mary calls “giant baby steps,” and his recovery has also been helped by the prayers of his fans. “He’s gotten thousands of letters and cards,” Mary says. “They were the wind beneath his wings.”

Also in his corner is his Nashville music family. “I would not be in this town if it weren’t for Randy Travis,” Garth Brooks says of the man he inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame last October. “There isn’t anybody that’s in country music today or in the last 20 years that doesn’t owe their career to Randy.”

And like Mary, Garth hopes that Randy will soon be able to get back to the business he loves. “He hasn’t been able to sit down with pen and pad to write, but I’m sure that in that mind of his he has 100 new songs,” Mary shares. He may also be setting up a mini symphony concert, she reveals, “and there are some songs that have never been heard, so maybe we’ll release an album of unheard

Randy Travis songs, which I think would be wonderful.”

A comeback would certainly be music to Randy’s ears, too. “It is my prayer that, with continued healing, one day soon, I will be back on that stage exchanging music with my fans…my friends, who with God’s amazing grace, have brought me this far,” he’s said. “The power of music remains a source of inspiratio­n and healing for me. Writing songs was always a passion of mine, and I still have a lot to share.” — Ron Kelly, with reporting

by Jaclyn Roth

 ??  ?? “Randy’s got a million-dollar smile,” Mary tells Closer. “I look at him, and it turns my day around.”
“Randy’s got a million-dollar smile,” Mary tells Closer. “I look at him, and it turns my day around.”

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