Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash

Stacy Conradt
Stacy Conradt / Stacy Conradt

We've all read the stories of longtime couples who die within hours, days, or weeks of one another. With their close bond and love story for the ages, it’s no surprise that country legends Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash are among their ranks.

Johnny and June had been married for 35 years when she passed away in 2003 at the age of 73. Fans were taken by surprise—Johnny had suffered health problems in recent years, including asthma, glaucoma, pneumonia, and diabetes, but June seemed to be as strong as ever. On May 7, 2003, June underwent heart surgery. It sent her into a coma, and she died a week later on May 15.

Though Johnny threw himself into his work, he was completely heartbroken. "After June died, life was a struggle for him," friend and collaborator Kris Kristofferson said. "His daughter told me he cried every night." Johnny had an artist paint June’s face on the elevator doors at his office, and he would often pick up the phone and speak to her as if she had called.

Stacy Conradt

The "Man in Black" wrapped up the final track for American V in early September and was hospitalized almost immediately after. He died on September 12, 2003, from respiratory problems related to his diabetes—but it’s often said that his broken heart added to his downturn.

Johnny was buried next to his beloved June at Hendersonville Memory Gardens in Hendersonville, Tennessee. Nearly 13 years later, fans still flock to their graves to pay tribute.

Peruse all the entries in our Grave Sightings series here.