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Randy Travis' strong faith helped him recover after 2013 stroke, says wife

"We leaned real hard on God," Mary Travis said in a new interview.
/ Source: TODAY

Country music legend Randy Travis relied on his strong faith to help him recover from the massive stroke he suffered in 2013, says his wife, Mary.

"There’s no way we could have gotten through what we got through without our faith. We were in the hospital almost six months. There were times Randy was in a coma. I know he was talking to God, and God was talking to him. I know they had conversations," Mary told Rolling Stone Country during a joint interview with her husband.

"We leaned real hard on God," she added. "Every day we still do. It’s like they say, 'By the grace of God, I walk.' That’s exactly the way we feel."

Randy Travis and his wife, Mary Travis, at the 53rd annual CMA Awards in Nashville in November 2019Jason Kempin / Getty Images

Though doctors initially gave Randy a less than 1% chance of survival, he's defied all odds with his remarkable progress. Still, the singer's journey back to health has been challenging.

"He got to the point where he pretty much shut down as far as going through the rehab because it does get tedious. When there’s that much damage done, you take tiny baby steps. There are plateaus — you’ll see a spurt of improvement, then it’ll flatline for a while and you’re just kind of at a plateau, and then you’ll see another improvement and every little thing is such a huge thing," shared Mary.

In his 2019 memoir, "Forever and Ever, Amen: A Memoir of Music, Faith, and Braving the Storms of Life," Randy — who shot to fame in the 1980s with his rich baritone and pop-inflected country hits — detailed how he fought for his life from a hospital bed. After emerging from his coma, he underwent brain surgery and was forced to learn how to walk again.

Though the near-fatal stroke resulted in aphasia, a condition that impedes the brain’s ability to understand or to express speech, the seven-time Grammy winner is able to communicate in brief responses. He can also still sing. Randy performs a duet with country star Josh Turner on a cover of Randy's 1987 hit "Forever and Ever, Amen," that appears on Turner's upcoming album, "Country State of Mind," due next month. The landmark performance marks Randy's first recording session since his stroke.

Music, as always, "is still huge" to the singer, said his wife.

"If you want to see somebody come to life, watch somebody come in here with a guitar and start playing music," said Mary. "When we turn on the music, Randy just starts wiggling all over."