Merle Haggard


Age: 79

country music singer, songwriter, guitarist and fiddler who rose from poverty and prison to international fame through his songs about outlaws, underdogs, and an abiding sense of national pride in such hits as Okie from Muskogee and Sing Me Back Home, who was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1994 and recorded for more than 40 years releasing dozens of albums and No. 1 hits, who along with fellow California country star Buck Owens was a founder of the twangy Bakersfield Sound as a direct contrast to the smooth, string-laden country records popular in Nashville, Tennessee in the 1960's, but who had served three years in San Quentin for burglarizing a cafe during a drunken spree in his youth (his criminal record was erased by then-Gov. Ronald Reagan who pardoned him in 1972) and kept up an ambitious touring schedule.

Cause of Death: Complications from pneumonia

Born: April 6, 1937

Died: April 6, 2016

Palo Cedro, California