Lucinda Williams Suffered Stroke in 2020

photo: Danny Clinch

At last week’s Mile 0 Fest in Key West, Florida, Lucinda Williams was scheduled to be the headliner, and was supposed to take the stage Thursday night, April 29th. Her name even graces the top of the T-shirts and posters for 2021. But Williams cancelled on April 21st, citing “personal health reasons” not related to COVID-19, and non life-threatening. Now we know why.

Lucinda Williams suffered a stroke on November 17th, 2020. Lucinda was getting ready to take a shower when she began to struggle keeping her balance. Not being able to stand up straight, her husband Tom Overby spoke to Lucinda’s primary care physician, who told Overby to get Lucinda to a hospital right away. They called an ambulance, which took Williams to Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville.

At the hospital, doctors discovered a blood clot in the right side of her brain, which affected the function of the left side of her body. They treated Lucinda for the blood clot, and she was transferred to a rehabilitation facility, where she spent nearly five weeks, until December 21st when she was discharged.

The good news is Lucinda can still sing and suffered no aphasia, and the prognosis is for a 100% recovery, even though she continues to have pain on her left side, walks with a cane, and currently cannot play guitar. She’s been working towards 100% recovery for the last six months, even as she kept the condition a secret, including to some close friends.

“I thought about going to Facebook, but I didn’t want to make it a big, alarming thing,” Williams tells Rolling Stone. “Because you know how Facebook is — everybody’s like, ‘We’re praying for you and everything,’ you know? I didn’t want people to overreact. I kind of felt like going off the grid a little bit.”

Before the stroke, Lucinda was a regular on COVID-era live streams. The 68-year-old released her latest record Good Souls Better Angels on April 24th, 2020, and it was nominated for Best Americana Album at the Grammy Awards.

Lucinda Williams is planning to return to the stage this summer, and recently was in the studio recording vocal for a cover of “Sway” by the Rolling Stones for an upcoming Chrissie Hynde project. “The main thing is I can still sing. I’m singing my ass off, so that hasn’t been affected,” she assures.

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