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It’s been 19 years since the country music legend Johnny Cash passed away at the age of 71 back in 2003, but he is still missed by millions of fans to this day. In a new interview, the late “Man In Black” singer’s sister Joanne Cash has opened up about her brother finding God again before his death.

‘He Gave His Heart To The Lord’

“He gave his heart to the Lord when he was 12, at our little country church,” Joanne told Fox News. “… But when he grew up he got away from God and got in the drug years. He [then] recommitted his life to Christ… I guess he thought, ‘If God could change me, he could change anybody.’”

“The Lord is very real in my life and was very real in Johnny’s life,” she added. “Our mother was a very strong Christian and prayed for us constantly. Johnny’s unshakable faith in God was taught to him by our brother Jack. [He] was going to be a pastor, and of course, God took him to heaven before that could happen. He was only 14. But it taught Johnny to have an unshakable faith in the Lord.”

Jack Cash was sadly killed at the age of 14 when he was accidentally pulled into a table saw while trying to chop wood for his family, according to Republic World. This was a tragedy that stayed with Johnny all his life, but it ultimately only strengthened his faith in God. 

Johnny was known for wearing black constantly throughout his career, and Joanne feels that this caused many to misinterpret him as a gloomy person.

“I remember Johnny saying, ‘Johnny is a pretty nice guy, but Cash gets him in trouble,'” she recalled with a laugh, adding that when Johnny was once asked why he always wore black, he replied, “You know what? It’s just really dark in there. I’m comfortable in black. It’s dressy. [And] I decided that I would stand up for the kids… that are struggling in the black, darkness of this world.”

“He wrote the song ‘Man in Black,’ which describes that completely,” Joanne continued. “He’d wear it for the young and the old and the people [who] had never read the words that Jesus said. And he said, ‘I wear it for the prisoner who is long paid for his crime because he’s a victim of the times.’ If you listen to… the wording of that song, you will find out the reason he [wore] black.”

Related: Johnny Cash’s Son Opens Up About His Dad’s Strong Christian Faith

Johnny ‘Gave His Heart Back To The Lord’

Though Johnny became a born-again Christian in 1972, he struggled with drugs and alcohol over the years. It was ultimately his strong faith in God that helped him to fight these demons and come out the other side, according to his sister.

“He, like all of us, was not perfect,” Joanne said of her brother. “We are not perfect. That’s why we need a Savior. Johnny knew he wasn’t perfect… He fell. He went into the dark side. And in the drug years, he almost lost his life… But God showed him some sort of a light.”

“And I believe that was the Lord,” she continued. “It was the Holy Spirit leading him out of that darkness. And it changed his life… That’s why… he gave his heart back to the Lord and emerged from that darkness… I want people to know that as long as there is life and breath, there is hope.”

Related: Jane Seymour Reveals What It Was Like To Work With Johnny Cash On ‘Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman’

Johnny’s Legacy

Nearly two decades after Johnny’s death, Joanne would like the world to remember him not only as one of the most talented country music stars of all time, but also as a devoted Christian who was putting God first by the end of his life. 

“Your dreams can come true and then you [also can fall] away and get… to death’s door,” she said. “[But] through the Lord Jesus Christ, there is hope… Even if you’re at your very lowest point. And Johnny proved that.”

Johnny Cash was a true legend, and there will never be another one like him. It’s nice to know that on top of being an incredible musician, he was also a devoted follower of Jesus Christ. 

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