Merle Haggard Dies On 79th Birthday
Merle Haggard, the man who made Muskogee famous, has died at 79. He passed away on his birthday.
Haggard had canceled his April concert dates as he tried to recover from a recurring bout of double pneumonia. His manager, Frank Mull, said he died in California of the condition.
The 78-year-old singer of hits like "Okie From Muskogee," ''Mama Tried" and "Workin' Man Blues" had also cancelled dates in February and March. He had a battle with lung cancer in 2008 but still kept up an ambitious touring schedule.
A masterful guitarist, fiddler and songwriter as well as singer, the Country Music Hall of Famer recorded for more than 40 years, releasing dozens of albums and No. 1 hits.
Haggard's parents were from Checotah, but he was born in California after they moved west.