- Country singer Stonewall Jackson died due to complications from vascular dementia.
- The 89-year-old was known for his six decades of performing at the Grand Ole Opry, as well as his 1959 hit album, Waterloo.
- Country music singers and fans alike commemorated the singer on Instagram.
The 89-year-old was known for his 65-year career performing “honky-tonk” country music featuring fiddles and steel guitars. Not to mention his six-plus decade run at the Grand Ole Opry (of which he was the oldest member). The musician was best known for his 1959 hit record Waterloo, which spent five weeks as the number one hit on the country charts, even crossing over to the top 10 for pop.
Jackson revealed in his 1991 book From the Bottom Up: The Stonewall Jackson Story as Told in His Own Words that he survived years of physical and emotional abuse by his stepfather. The Waterloo singer later joined the army, lying about his age to enlist at just 16 years old, and ultimately joined the Navy where he honed his singer-songwriter skills, according to the New York Times.
Unfortunately, vascular dementia is not uncommon—it’s the second most common type of dementia, following Alzheimer’s disease, and impacts 15 to 20% of those with dementia in North America and Europe. The disease is marked by a decrease in blood flow, often caused by a blood clot, bleeding caused by a ruptured blood vessel, or damage to blood vessels, which ultimately damages brain tissue, according to Hopkins Medicine.
The early warning signs and symptoms of vascular dementia vary based on where the blockage is in the brain, but may include: difficulty concentrating, communicating, or carrying out instructions, problems with memory, confusion, stroke symptoms, mood changes, and problems with movement. While some find they are simply forgetful but can do everyday activities, others discover they have memory problems so severe it makes normal day-to-day tasks difficult. Symptoms often develop gradually, and patients typically notice them after stroke or major surgery.
Risk factors for vascular dementia include age, being overweight or obese, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and triglycerides, smoking cigarettes, diabetes, atrial fibrillation, high levels of homocysteine in the blood, family history, and having a condition that can impact blood clotting. Unfortunately, there is no cure for vascular dementia, but medicine and lifestyle changes to address risk factors can be helpful, according to Hopkins Medicine.
As of now, little is known about Jackson’s battle with the disease. The musician is survived by his son Stonewall Jr. and two grandchildren. His wife, Juanita Wair Jackson, died in 2019.
Fans and country music stars alike poured out their love and gratitude for the singer. Little Bigtown's Kimberly Schlapman commented “❤️❤️❤️,” while other fans noted the musician’s long-standing legacy: “Rest in peace legend,” one fan commented.
Jackson will certainly be missed, but he leaves behind adoring fans and cherished music. Our hearts go out to his family during this time.