Merle Haggard died today (April 6th) after battling double pneumonia.
Last week, country music legend Merle Haggard was forced to cancel two weekend concerts as a result of his ill-health. Haggard’s son Ben Haggard posted a message on Twitter stating that his dad was ‘still recovering from pneumonia’ and that it ‘takes awhile to get back to normal.’
This tweet was followed by a thumbs up emoji and a smiley face.
This tweet sounds as though his family didn’t think that he would take such a turn for the worst, and were optimistic about his recovery.
Now, the grim news. Today (April 6th), Ben Haggard posted a tweet and a Facebook post of him holding his father’s hand. The post confirmed the death had occurred two hours previous. Since then, floods of condolences have spread though social media networks.
Haggard was a well-known American country and western singer, songwriter and guitarist who started his career in the music industry back in the 60s. He bagged himself a national hit song by re-recording a Wynn Stewart track called ‘Sing a Sad Song,’ the start of a distinctive musical career.
One year later, Haggard scored a top 10 national record titled ‘(My Friends Are Gonna Be) Strangers.’ By 1966, Haggard recorded his first number one song, ‘I’m a Lonesome Fugitive,’ and by the 70s, Haggard was among the most famous country singers worldwide.
Throughout, Haggard was developing a ‘Bakersfield’ sound that stood in contrast to a more polished Nashville musical style. Back in Bakersfield lies a street that bears his name, just one symbol of his significance to the town, region, and State of California.
In 2000, Haggard made a comeback by signing with independent label Anti. He released an album in 2005 titled Chicago Wind, and another in 2010 titled I Am What I Am.
Between 2014 and 2015, Haggard toured aggressively until health issues persistently got in the way. He also reportedly told Rolling Stone back in December of last year that he was ‘nearly dead.’
(Image: Public Domain)