On April 6, 2016, the country music community lost one of its legendary singers. After a series of health struggles, Merle Haggard died of pneumonia at his ranch in Palo Cedro, California. What’s even unfortunate is that the day he died also happened to be his birthday. He was 79.
A few months before his death, Merle Haggard canceled tour dates and checked into a hospital, where it was found out that he had double pneumonia, which means both of his lungs were infected.
The country legend also had a history of illnesses, this includes clogged arteries and lung cancer. In 1995, he underwent angioplasty to unblock his arteries. More than three decades later, Haggard was diagnosed with lung cancer which needed the removal of part of his lungs. He was quick to get back on his feet and went on touring until shortly before his death.
Dozens of celebrities from the country music world and beyond paid tribute to the “Okie From Muskogee” singer. Willie Nelson has expressed how he will miss Haggard, whom he considers his brother and friend. Meanwhile, Toby Keith paid tribute to the country legend in one post, describing him as the “greatest singer-songwriter of my lifetime.” Several more artists took to social media to show their love for Haggard, including LeAnn Womack, Carrie Underwood, Brad Paisley, Jason Aldean, and more.
One of The Greatest Country Music Artists In His Era
Within his decades-spanning career, Merle Haggard songs have been the voice of working men and the outsider. He has recorded over three dozen No. 1 country hits that have influenced countless country artists.
What made Haggard stand out is that he did not just sing about the life described in country songs – he lived it. And that’s how we’ll always remember him.