The poet of the working man died Wednesday — his 79th birthday — at home surrounded by family, according to source close to the singer who asked to remain anonymous. Haggard had been suffering the effects of double pneumonia.
Music City is mourning the loss of Merle Haggard. He passed away April 6th, which was also his 79th birthday. Haggard’s manager, Frank Mull says he had been in hospice care recently and died at 9:20 a.m. in Palo Cedro, California from pneumonia. Willie Nelson paid tribute to Haggard yesterday on Facebook. The post was a simple photo of the two longtime friends laughing together on a couch. The caption read, “He was my brother, my friend. I will miss him.” Haggard’s son Ben also shared yesterday that his father predicted he would die on his birthday.
He had recently canceled a number of scheduled performances. Merle Haggard was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1994. Haggard won a slew of awards over his career, including a Kennedy Center honor and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
From Ben Haggard…Merle’s Son and the lead guitar in his band: A week ago dad told us he was gonna pass on his birthday, and he wasn’t wrong. 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
Facebook post from Willie Nelson: Nelson shared a photo of the two of them, sitting on a couch and laughing with each other. Above the photo are Haggard’s birth and death dates, and below it is a quote from Nelson: “He was my friend, my brother. I will miss him.” The post also links to the video for Haggard and Nelson’s version of “Pancho & Lefty,” the title track of their 1983 collaborative album.
Tweets from other artists Bear Radio Plays:
Charlie Daniels: Country music has suffered one of the greatest losses it will ever experience Rest in peace Merle Haggard
Steve Warner: So sad to announce we lost the great Merle Haggard today. I can’t even believe it! So sorry Ben, Theresa and the whole family.
The Oak Ridge Boys: Oh no!!! Merle passed away this morning… This is devastating news…
TG Sheppard: My dear friend and one of country music’s treasures, Merle Haggard has just passed away. My deepest sympathy to his family.
Crystal Gayle: I have wonderful memories of sharing the stage with Merle Haggard here in America and overseas..
Alan Jackson: We lost one of the greatest singer/songwriters since Hank Williams. Inspiration to millions, great American, thank you Merle. I’ll miss you.
Tanya Tucker: I just can’t imagine a world without Merle. I’ll continue to honor him on stage just as I do during every show.
Dolly Parton: We’ve lost one of the greatest writers and singers of all time. His heart was as tender as his love ballads. I loved him like a brother.
Hank Williams Jr.: Merle Haggard was an original. Not just a singer, not just a songwriter, not just famous performer. He was your common everyday working man.
Tim McGraw: Merle Haggard. The man , the songs , the voice, the attitude – Iconic.
Ronnie Milsap: Few wrote life like Merle Haggard. None sang or played with such truth.
Radney Foster: No words describe my loss. My biggest influence as a vocalist is gone. A great American poet has passed. Godspeed you home, Merle.
Joe Diffie: RIP mighty Merle Haggard. One of the most influential singers ever!
Suzy Boggus: One of the most special moments of my musical life… sing a duet with Merle Haggard
Loretta Lynn: Today, friends, the world lost one of the greatest singer/songwriters of all time, Merle…
Kenny Rogers: Merle Haggard, the great storyteller, his voice and his personality will be greatly missed. He was a true original.
George Strait: It’s a very sad day for all of us Hag fans. I honestly think that had it not been for him I would not have chosen the path that I chose. – G
Moe Bandy: “He’s my hero and I’ll never forget recording ‘Don’t Sing Me No Songs About Texas’ with Merle.
Kix Brooks: Goodbye Merle- you wrote it- you played it- you sang it – and damn you were good-The King-RIP we’re gonna miss you!!
Blake Shelton: Incredibly sad tonight.. Goodbye Merle Haggard.
Dwight Yoakum: To say that he was one of the greatest ever, is an inadequate understatement. – Dwight
Travis Tritt: He was more than a great talent. He was a gifted poet. What a huge inspiration he was to everyone! RIP Merle Haggard
Ann Murray: RIP Merle Haggard, my favourite country singer of all time.
Dierks Bently: literally just fell to the floor. can’t believe we lost the hag. rip merle haggard
BJ Thomas: RIP Merle Haggard. Merle, is the primary influence of Country Music as we know it today. One of the most important artist of all time.
Ronnie Dunn: RIP to the legend Merle Haggard. You were truly one of a kind
T Graham Brown: Merle Haggard I will miss you so much, thanks for letting me be your opening act back in the early 90s and being such a gentlemen.
Rosanne Cash: Heartbroken
Eddie Montgomery: Man my heart is aching really bad right now !! Merle Haggard past today!! Gonna find me a bar and have a double shot!!! Rest in piece
Brad Paisley: There are no words to describe the loss & sorrow felt within all of music with the passing of Merle Haggard. Thank God for his life & songs.
John Rich: “Mighty” Merle Haggard was the greatest country songwriter of ALL TIME. We shared many great memories, and I will miss him.