The Surprising Age Johnny Cash First Started Smoking

There are many fascinating, funky facts about Johnny Cash, otherwise known as "The Man in Black." For a country singer and songwriter known for sorrow-filled lyrics, you'd be surprised to learn just how, um, interesting his life was.

According to FHE Health, the artist struggled with addiction for the majority of his career. Avid fans might remember Cash being arrested for attempting to smuggle horse tranquilizers across the Mexican border, while others might recall the time he unsuccessfully bribed a cop to look the other way when the officer discovered his stash of pills. As you can guess, Cash did spend the night in jail for his attempted bribes (via FHE Health).

Moreover, these two tales represent just how bad Cash's addiction ruled his life and career. His early introduction to cigarettes reportedly led to a long-term relationship with addiction, per FHE Health. But just how early did these vices begin? 

Johnny Cash had just become a teenager when he had his first puff

According to Flavorwire, Johnny Cash started puffing cigarettes when he was just 13 years old. Yep, you heard that right — he had just entered his teenage years when the habit took root. 

Decades later, his affliction for smoking (along with other drugs) caught up to him. During the '80s, the artist began suffering from severe health issues, specifically his heart, per Spinditty. He underwent various surgeries on the knees, heart, and jaw. And, to make matters worse, his health issues spurred the development of autonomic neuropathy, a condition associated with diabetes that forced Cash to cancel all his tours.

As Spinditty reported, some say it was really the death of his wife, June Cash, that caused his body the most stress of all. Though he suffered from heart issues and other body ailments, Cash continued to produce music well into the '90s and early 2000s. However, four months after his beloved wife died of a heart attack, he passed away as well (via Spinditty). This series of events led some fans to believe that in the end, it was heartbreak that killed one of the greatest country singers to ever grace our ears. 

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).