The country music legend, Merle Haggard who was popular for his common man themes in his music passed away this Wednesday.
Merle Haggard became a popular country singer back in the 1960s with his hit song “The Fugitive” which was about his past as a convict and his time spent in jail. Most famous for his songs "Okie from Muskogee" and "Fightin' Side of Me", he was known as a common man singer with his lyrics referring to a workers’ point of view which allowed him to sell multiple records over the past few decades.
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Merle was just reported to have passed away struggling with an onset of pneumonia as reported by the singer’s manager. Reportedly, Haggard had spent 11 days at the Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage early this year after being diagnosed with pneumonia last year.
According to his son, Haggard was predicting for quite some time now that it was his time to go. His final prediction was that he would die on his birthday and that is exactly what happened.
His son reported his death on Facebook, which happened this Wednesday on his birthday while he was surrounded by family and friends at his home near Redding, CA.
Many of the country stars and Merle’s colleagues expressed their grief on their twitter including, Charlie Daniels, Carrie Underwood, Brad Paisley, Dierks Bentley and perhaps the most beautiful tribute by friend and colleague, Willie Nelson who posted a picture of himself and Merle with the caption, "He was my brother, my friend. I will miss him."
Merle had a typical country song life where his father died, leaving Merle in confusion and grief and the young Merle turned to committing petty crimes.
The other inmates helped him discover his musical potential after he heard Johnny Cash who also became his friend and mentor later on and Merle got his first gig at the age of 21. He never shied away from performing and even now at this stage of life, he was touring and performing at different venues across the country.
The specialty of his songs has been described as being truly emotional and sung from the heart and although Merle didn’t write all of them, he put the right voice and emotion into his every song.