It was announced by his former publicist, Jim Della Croce, that country star Merle Haggard has died today. 

It was his 79th birthday.

At the time of the announcement, Della Croce did not provide any further details regarding Haggard's passing, though he had recently cancelled several shows due to double-pneumonia. 

Haggard reached ultimate fame in the 60s, after serving a real live stint in San Quentin Prison for burglary. 

He, along with friends Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, and others represent a core of outlaw country stars.

Take, for example, his classic, "Okie from Muskogee."

Haggard's controversial patriotism in the face of the Vietnam War is considered to be some of the greatest musical satire America has ever produced. 

Merle Haggard will be sorely missed. From "Are the Good Times Really Over?" to "New York City Blues," Haggard was a legendary country star you'd be hard pressed to find anywhere else now or in the years to come. 

Check out the video of Merle performing "Okie from Muskogee." 


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[via The New York Times] [Feature Image Courtesy Instagram]