The country music world is reeling.
Country music legend and pioneer of the outlaw country movement, Merle Haggard, has passed away at his home in Northern California surrounded by family early Wednesday (April 6) morning.
Haggard’s agent, Lance Roberts, confirmed with CNN that the cause of death was complications from pneumonia, which he had been battling on and off since December 2015.
Born April 6, 1937 in Bakersfield, California, Haggard broke into the country scene in 1963 and never looked back. He helped create the “Bakersfield Sound”, grew the outlaw movement, and because of his success, was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1994.
He has won 19 ACMs, 6 CMAs, 3 Grammys and has a whopping 40 No. 1 hits. His most notable songs are “Mama Tried“, “Okie From Muskogee“, “Pancho and Lefty” with Willie Nelson, “Silver Wings” and “Today I Started Loving You Again“.
Most recently, Haggard recorded a duet album with close friend Willie Nelson called Django and Jimmie.
The country music community is in a state of mourning as artists old and new have taken to social media to pay their respects to the music icon.
“He loved everything about life and he loved that everyone of you gave him a chance with his music,” Haggard’s youngest son, Ben, wrote. “He wasn’t just a country singer… He was the best country singer that ever lived.“
Haggard is survived by his wife, Theresa, and children Marty, Noel, Dana, Kelli, Jenessa, and Ben.
Our thoughts go out to his family during their time of grief.
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