Country Music Legend Merle Haggard 1937 – 2016

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Outlaw country legend Merle Haggard has passed away today, on his birthday, at age 79 according to SiriusXM. The member of the Country Music Hall Of Fame had been battling a lingering bout of double pneumonia, causing the recent postponement of all April concerts. Haggard’s agent, Lance Roberts, confirmed to CNN that Merle died of complications from pneumonia at his home in Northern California on Wednesday.

Haggard is credited with helping to create the “Bakersfield Sound” found in many of his 40 No. 1 hits, including “Mama Tried,” a song recently selected for preservation in the National Recording Registry. Merle’s sound was thought to be a reaction to the more polished music coming out of Nashville in the 1960s. Some of the other No. 1 hits he released between 1966 and 1987 include “Sing Me Back Home,” “Hungry Eyes,” “Okie From Muskogee,” “Old Man From The Mountain,” “Movin’ On” and “Pancho & Lefty,” which he recorded with longtime friend and collaborator Willie Nelson in 1983.

Among the many honors Haggard received over the course of his illustrious career were induction into Kennedy Center Honors, the Nashville Songwriters Hall Of Fame and the Country Music Hall Of Fame. He won three Grammy Awards including the 1999 Grammy Hall Of Fame Award for “Mama Tried.” Merle hit the road in 2015 for visits to over 30 cities leading up to his hospitalization in December for double pneumonia.

Our thoughts are with Merle’s friends and family.

Watch Merle Haggard perform “Sing Me Back Home”:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KDDyyDjWM_0

Tributes from around the globe have begun pouring in over social media in reaction to Haggard’s death. View many of the messages below:

https://twitter.com/alxwinter/status/717775000963383296
https://twitter.com/woodenwand/status/717778319199117312