Johnny died due to complications from diabetes, which resulted in respiratory failure, September 12, 2003. less than four months after the death of his second wife, June Carter-Cash, whom he married in 1968. He was buried next to his wife in Hendersonville Memory Gardens near his home in Hendersonville, Tennessee.
Johnny Cash was born J. R. Cash in Kingsland, Arkansas to Ray and Carrie Cash, and raised in Dyess, Arkansas. Cash was one of seven children.
He sold over 90 million albums in his nearly fifty-year career and came to occupy a "commanding position in music history".
In 1997, Cash was diagnosed with the neurodegenerative disease Shy-Drager syndrome. The diagnosis was later altered to autonomic neuropathy associated with diabetes. This illness forced Cash to curtail his touring. He was hospitalized in 1998 with severe pneumonia, which damaged his lungs. The albums American III: Solitary Man (2000) and American IV: The Man Comes Around (2002) contained Cash's response to his illness in the form of songs of a slightly more somber tone than the first two American albums. The video that was released for "Hurt", a song by Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, fit Cash's view of his past and feelings of regret. The video for the song, from American IV, is now generally recognized as "his epitaph,"and received particular critical and popular acclaim.
"Hurt" is a song written by Trent Reznor, first released on Nine Inch Nails' 1994 album The Downward Spiral. In 2002, "Hurt" was covered by Johnny Cash to critical acclaim; it was one of Cash's final hit releases before his death. Its accompanying video, featuring images from Cash's life and directed by Mark Romanek, was named the best video of the year by the Grammy Awards and Country Music Awards.
Johnny Cash's cover of "Hurt" was released on his 2002 album, American IV: The Man Comes Around. Rick Rubin, producer of Cash's American series and a friend of Reznor, suggested the song to Cash. The line "crown of shit" was changed to "crown of thorns", not only removing profanity from the lyrics, but also more directly referencing Christ. The cover was released on a single with the B-side "Personal Jesus", a cover of the Depeche Mode single.
Reznor said that when Rubin first asked if Cash could cover his song, he was "flattered" but worried that "the idea sounded a bit gimmicky." He became a fan of Cash's version, however, once he saw the music video.
"I pop the video in, and wow… Tears welling, silence, goose-bumps… Wow. I just lost my girlfriend, because that song isn't mine anymore… It really made me think about how powerful music is as a medium and art form. I wrote some words and music in my bedroom as a way of staying sane, about a bleak and desperate place I was in, totally isolated and alone. [Somehow] that winds up reinterpreted by a music legend from a radically different era/genre and still retains sincerity and meaning — different, but every bit as pure."
The cover was given the Country Music Award for "Single of the Year" in 2003. It ranked as CMT's top video for 2003, #1 on CMT's 100 Greatest Country Music Videos the following year, and #1 on the Top 40 Most Memorable Music Videos on MuchMoreMusic's Listed in October 2007. As of July 2008, the single occupies the number one spot on Rate Your Music's Top Singles of the 2000s. The song is also Cash's sole chart entry on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart, where it hit #33 in 2003.
The music video won the 2004 Grammy Award for Best Short Form Music Video. The house where Cash's music video for "Hurt" was shot, which was Cash's home for nearly 30 years, was destroyed in a fire on April 10, 2007.
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