HANK JR. TAKES A FALL

Flashback -- Aug. 8, 1975

Before he embarked on his major 1975 tour, Hank Williams Jr. decided that a restful vacation in Montana was in order. But that little trip nearly cost him his life.

While hiking up Ajax Mountain with some friends, Hank lost his footing and tumbled 500 feet. His head smashed into a boulder, causing multiple injuries.

"I had no teeth, no gums," Hank recalled. "My right eye was out of the socket, and my head was the size of a watermelon. It made me think of Frankenstein." Over the next several years Hank would undergo nine operations and an arduous, uphill recovery, an ordeal that led to bouts with alcohol and drugs.

But the accident also forced him to reevaluate his life and put his priorities in place. His biggest life turnaround came in July of 1984, when he met a model named Mary Jane Thomas. They married in 1990 and have since had two children. "Her love saved me from myself," he says.

Today the family lives outside Nashville and also spends time at Hank's ranch in Montana -- within sight of Ajax Mountain.

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