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Country Legend Merle Haggard Is Dead At 79

The musician passed away on his birthday

Legendary country singer Merle Haggard has died at the age of 79, reports ABC 23.

Haggard, known for writing and performing songs like the political satire “Okie From Muskogee,” passed away at home surrounded by his family, according to The Bakersfield Californian. Today is his 79th birthday. While the cause of death has not been reported, Haggard was hospitalized for pneumonia earlier this year.

The singer and songwriter was born in 1937 in Oildale, CA. He began writing and releasing music in the early ‘60s, and by 1966 he would reach No. 1 on the Billboard country music charts with "I'm A Lonesome Fugitive."

Haggard was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1994. He was still performing live as late as last year, and released his last album Django and Jimmie with Willie Nelson last June.

He is survived by his wife Theresa Ann Lane and their two children, Jenessa and Ben, as well as four children from his first marriage to Leona Hobbs, Dana, Marty, Kelli, and Noel.