Willie Nelson has lived 89 years, and many of them have been extremely difficult. But nothing was more devastating than what happened to him 30 years ago this winter.

This season finale episode of the Secret History of Country Music podcast explores the death of Willie Nelson's son Billy, who died by suicide on Christmas Eve 1991. It's not a story with much mystery — William Hugh Nelson Jr. had some demons that caught up to him, even if no one predicted it.

Several weeks after young Nelson's death, People talked to his friends, who admitted that troubles with alcohol plagued him in recent years. One said he'd been out having a good time with Billy until 2AM that morning, and when he dropped him off, there was no cause for concern.

Other significant sources for this episode include the Associated Press' news report from 1991 and the St. Louis Post Dispatch. A gospel album called Peace in the Valley is referred to in this episode, too — that can be found on Amazon.

Season 1 of the Secret History of Country Music podcast is an extension of the popular video series of the same name, and a part of the Townsquare Media podcast network. Follow on Apple PodcastsSpotify and Taste of Country so you don't miss upcoming episodes, including the start of Season 2. Be sure to follow for more great country music podcasts.

See Pictures of Willie Nelson Through the Years

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