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Merle Haggard Dead: Country Legend Dies on 79th Birthday

Country music legend Merle Haggard died on Wednesday, April 6, on what was his 79th birthday, his manager confirmed to multiple outlets.

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The “Okie From Muskogee” hitmaker passed away in his home near Redding, California, on Wednesday morning. He had reportedly battled double bouts of pneumonia, and was hospitalized for 11 days in early 2016 at the Eisenhower Medical Center in Riverside, California.

Merle Haggard
Merle Haggard performs on stage during a March 1980 concert in Los Angeles.

Haggard was scheduled to perform alongside Willie Nelson on his comeback tour, after the dynamic duo released their 2015 album, Django and Jimmie. 

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According to TMZ, Haggard canceled his shows in April as he struggled with his recovery from pneumonia. His manager told the outlet that the singer was tired of battling the debilitating lung condition for so long, and even eerily predicted that he would pass away on his birthday.

Haggard is a Country Music Hall of Fame inductee and was recently nominated for yet another Grammy for his duet with Don Henley

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Tributes have already begun pouring in on Twitter. “It’s with a heavy heart that we say goodbye to @MerleHaggard. The legend passed away today at age 79. #RIP,” Country Music Television tweeted. 

CMT is paying tribute to Haggard with a special, CMT Remembers Merle Haggard, airing on Wednesday, April 6, at 8:30 p.m. ET. The network will feature All Merle, All Day on Thursday, April 7.

SiriusXM’s Willie’s Roadhouse is also playing Haggard tunes all day to honor the late musician. Meanwhile, Haggard’s fellow country stars took to Twitter to react to the news. 

“I just told my little girl @merlehaggard has passed away and gone to heaven,” Jake Owen tweeted. “She said, ‘that’s okay daddy, We will get to go to heaven too.'”

Country star Dustin Lynch added: “Hard to believe the news about Merle Haggard. Working with him is something I’ll never forget & will cherish forever.”

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