Country music legend Merle Haggard has passed away on his birthday at the age of 79. The Associated Press confirms with Haggard’s manager, Frank Mull, that the country icon died at his home in Palo Cedro, California, eight miles east of Redding, of pneumonia that he had been battling for months.
Haggard had an ambitious touring schedule, but was forced to cancel several shows this year as he had pneumonia in both lungs. The Bakersfield native, along with Buck Owens, was a pioneer of the twangy Bakersfield Sound, a direct contrast to the smooth, string-laden country records popular in Nashville, Tennessee, in the 1960s.
Haggard’s son, Ben, posted on Facebook that his dad predicted his death on his birthday.
“A week ago dad told us he was gonna pass on his birthday, and he wasn’t wrong,” the younger Haggard writes on Facebook. “A hour ago he took his last breath surrounded by family and friends. He loved everything about life and he loved that everyone of you gave him a chance with his music. He wasn’t just a country singer.. He was the best country singer that ever lived.”
Some of Haggard’s biggest hits include “Okie From Muskogee,” “Working Man Blues,” “Mama Tried,” “Sing Me Back Home,” and others.
Country stars have taken to social media to share their thoughts on the legendary singer’s passing.
Author: Buddy Iahn
Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites.