Merle Haggard dies on 79th birthday

Ponca City Now - April 7, 2016 9:07 am

PALO CEDRO, Calif. (AP) – Country music giant Merle Haggard, who grew up in poverty after his family moved from Oklahoma to California, has died. He had been suffering from double-pneumonia and died Wednesday, his 79th birthday.

His song "Okie From Muskogee" made him a hit among conservatives, with its patriotic themes in the turbulent 1960s. More recently he backed prominent Democrats – unveiling a song for Hillary Clinton in 2007 and writing "Hopes Are High" after President Barack Obama’s inauguration.

His career lasted more than four decades. He headlined at Farm Aid, and toured until having to cancel recent dates because of illness.

Toby Keith called Haggard "the greatest singer-songwriter" of Keith’s lifetime. Dolly Parton said she loved Haggard like a brother.

Haggard was born near Bakersfield, California, and died in Palo Cedro, California.


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