Country music legend and Country Music Hall of Fame member, Merle Haggard, has died, on his birthday at the age of 79.
Haggard was born on April 6, 1937 in Bakersfield, California to Oklahoma migrant worker parents. He famously spent time in San Quentin State Prison following a burglary attempt, where he saw one of Johnny Cash’s famous concerts. After his release from prison he was determined to turn his life around.
The man partly responsible for the Bakersfield sound also notched 38 No. 1 hits to go along with Grammys, ACMS and CMA awards and the Kennedy Center Honors as a songwriter, vocalist, bandleader, and performing artist.
Haggard recently told Garden & Gun that his family wanted him to stop touring, especially with his most recent sickness, but, “I can’t. I feel it’s a double-edged sword. It’s what keeps me alive and it’s what f**ks up my life.”
Haggard is survived by his wife, Theresa, whom he married in 1993, and his children: Dana, Marty, Kelli, Noel, Ben and Jenessa.