The fatal heart condition that country singer Randy Travis is recovering from is likely due to his family history and not substance abuse. Travis was hospitalized last week after suffering a stroke due to a viral infection known as viral cardiomyopathy. While loved ones and even some medical experts speculated that his recent problems with alcohol could have made his heart condition worse, doctors and family members are now saying Travis' problem is genetic. Luckily, the country singer is expected to make a full recovery.
Dr. Michael Mack told TMZ that Travis has “a family history of cardiomyopathy and it is more likely related to that.” He also looked at scanned images of the singer’s heart and said it was “not the appearance of either drugs or alcohol causing the heart condition.” Travis’ sister-in-law, Teresa Traywick, also revealed that her husband had a heart attack last year and that Travis’ mother died at an early age due to complications with her heart.
Viral cardiomyopathy is a scarring of the heart muscle, causing the heart to be weakened and unable to support circulation without the help of either medical devices or medication. Dr. Gary Erwin, who is currently treating Travis, said in a video statement that the singer was initially put on a ventilator during his hospital stay and was able to “breath spontaneously” with that assistance.
Erwin is hoping to have Travis “weaned off that very soon,” since he is now “interacting” with family and beginning the first stages of physical therapy. Although it will take months to recover from the stroke, scans reportedly show that the swelling in Travis' brain is subsiding following surgery and that the singer is making good progress. Travis will likely stay in the hospital for another two to three weeks before being transferred to another establishment to receive care.
Travis was trying to turn his image and career around after several recent alcohol-related run-ins with the law. In February 2012, he was arrested for public intoxication while parked in front of a church with an open wine bottle. A few months later, Travis was arrested again for DUI after lying naked in the middle of a road outside of Dallas. He pleaded guilty and was given a 180-day suspended jail sentence, in addition to two years of probation. He was also ordered to 30 days of rehab and 100 hours of community service.
Travis has released 20 albums throughout his nearly 30-year career, winning seven Grammys and 10 Academy of Country Music honors.