TG Sheppard is a man of great faith; it's not a fact that he hides. As the singer tells The Boot, a traumatic event a few years ago change everything about his life, including his belief in God.

"I died a few years ago. I actually died five times in two weeks," Sheppard explains. "I came in off our tour and got off the bus. Was terribly ill. Felt great until I got home, and then I told [my wife] Kelly [Lang], ‘I’m really not doing well. Something is wrong.’ So she rushed me to the ER at Vanderbilt.

"Five minutes after being there, I was in the intensive care, close to a massive heart attack and stroke," he continues. "I had a blood infection that had gone into my heart and destroyed the electrical part of my heart, and I was gone."

However, even while he was sick, Sheppard's sense of humor remained intact.

"Every time I would go, I would wake up, and my wife would say, ‘Did you see anybody?’" he recalls. "One time, I joked, ‘I think I saw Buddy Holly once.'"

The health scare made Sheppard realize what was important to him -- and what was not.

"You suddenly realize that when you come that close to dying, that there’s a greater purpose in life for you," the 71-year-old muses. "So, that’s very traumatic for me. But it took dying to really realize that importance of life and what it’s all about."

Sheppard still enjoys performing for his fans, but more importantly, he appreciates the chance to interact with them, and hopefully change their lives for the better.

"I love to touch people with a song and make a difference in their life," he says. "I love to lift people up. I do it every day. My mission in life is to make a difference in someone’s life, if they need encouraging or if they need prayer. Whatever they need to improve their day, that’s my whole thing in life."

Sheppard recently released a new album, Legendary Friends & Country Duets. The record is available for purchase on Amazon and iTunes.

Country Stars' Unforgettable Brushes With Death