Two-plus years after country artist and committed Christian Randy Travis suffered a stroke, he made his first return to the Opry in a surprise appearance on Friday night (Sept. 25). Though Travis did not perform, but he looked well and was enjoying himself.
"Words can never express my gratitude to those who continue to believe in me, pray for me and keep me lifted up in thought and deed," Travis wrote. "The kind cards and heartfelt letters of testimony and encouragement brought me through the darkest of days. [My wife] Mary read each and every one of them to me, and I felt the love and concern being sent my way; and, I gathered strength from this. None of us are worthy of the immense outpouring of support shown to me, and I consider each of my fans, a friend. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
"The power of music remains a source of inspiration and healing for me," he continued. "Writing songs was always a passion of mine, and I still have a lot to share with you. It is my prayer that, with continued healing, one day soon, I will be back on that stage exchanging music with my fans ... my friends, who with God's amazing grace, have brought me this far. As I work through music/speech/occupational/physical therapy, it is my hope that my songs of yesterday continue to touch your life in some way."
On July 7, 2013, Travis was admitted to a Dallas area hospital for viral cardiomyopathy after a viral upper respiratory infection. His condition was classified as critical. Three days later, Travis suffered a massive stroke and had surgery to relieve pressure on his brain. On July 15, 2013, it was reported that Travis was awake and alert after undergoing brain surgery, that his heart was pumping without the assistance of machines, and that he was on the road to recovery. He was released from Baylor Heart Hospital in Plano, Texas on July 31, 2013, and entered a physical therapy facility.
Following his stroke, and despite physical therapy, Travis has been unable to sing or speak and has difficulty walking, having to rely on a cane. As of November 2014, he is slowly recovering, and can walk short distances without assistance and is relearning how to write and play the guitar, according to his then-fiancée Mary Davis.