Loretta Lynn, Country Music Icon, Dead at 90

Loretta Lynn, an iconic pillar of country music and one of the most legendary singers of all time, died on Tuesday, Oct. 4. She was 90. Lynn passed away at her home in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee, her family confirmed, per The Guardian

In a statement confirming her passing, Lynn's family said, "our precious mom, Loretta Lynn, passed away peacefully this morning, October 4th, in her sleep at home in her beloved ranch in Hurricane Mills." The family also asked for privacy and confirmed a memorial will be announced at a later date.

Her cause of death was not disclosed just yet, though per passing came after a series of health issues in recent years. In September 2017, she suffered a major stroke. In January 2018, she fell and broke her hip. Despite her health issues, Lynn continued to perform and record. In September 2018,, Wouldn't It Be Great, a mix of new songs and re-recordings of classics from her past, including "Coal Miner's Daughter" and "Don't Come Home a Drinkin.'" The album even earned Lynn her last Grammy nomination, for Best Country Solo Performance. Lynn also recorded "Put It Off Until Tomorrow" for her sister Crystal Gayle's 2019 album You Don't Know Me: Classic Country. The song also featured Lynn's sister Peggy Sue. It was followed in 2021 by what would be her final album, Still Woman Enough.

Lynn also kept up with fans through social media. When a tabloid report claimed she was on her death bed in June 2019, she shared a video insisting she was not. "Hey! This says I'm in a nursing home and I'm on my deathbed? You're kidding me!" Lynn said in the video. "I ain't dead, and neither is [Willie Nelson]. Both of us are coming back to life, and we're gonna raise hell." Although Lynn stopped making public appearances, she did not keep her opinions to herself. During a June 2020 appearance on Martina McBride's podcast, Lynn criticized the country music landscape. "I'm not happy at all," she said. "I think that they're completely losing it. And I think that's a sad situation because we should never let country music die. I think that every type of music should be saved, and country is one of the greatest. It's been around, as far as I'm concerned, longer than any of it."

Lynn's health also prevented her from attending an October 2020 unveiling of a statue at the Ryman's Icon Walk. Her daughters Patsy Russell and Peggy Lynn showed off the statue, which stands near sculptures of Little Jimmy Dickens and Bill Monroe.

Lynn's impact on the country music industry is almost unfathomable. Born in Bucher Hollow, Kentucky on April 14, 1932 as Loretta Webb, her life story was a country song itself. She was the second-eldest of eight children born to coal miner Ted Webb and Clary Webb. At 15, she married Oliver Vanetta "Doolittle" Lynn and the early years of their marriage would inspire many of her first songs.

In February 1960, Lynn recorded her first song, "I'm a Honky Tonk Girl" and headed to Nashville. In 1967, she scored her first No. 1 hit, and her songs about blue-collar life and women's issues deeply connected with her audience. Some of Lynn's biggest hits include "Don't Come Home A' Drinkin' (With Lovin' On Your Mind)," "You Ain't Woman Enough," "First City," "Coal Miner's Daughter," "One's On The Way," "Rated 'X,'" and "You Ain't Woman Enough (To Take My Man)."

Lynn continued churning out hit after hit into the late 1970s. In 1980, the film Coal Miner's Daughter became a smash hit at the box office and earned Sissy Spacek an Oscar for playing Lynn. With that film's success, Lynn's own career continued and she scored one more solo Top 10 with "I Lie" in 1982.

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Although Lynn's success on the charts began to dry up in the 1980s and 1990s, she experienced a surprising career comeback in 2004 when she released Van Lear Rose. She wrote or co-wrote every song on the album, which was produced by Jack White. It was released to critical acclaim and won the Best Country Album Grammy Award. By 2017 though, Lynn's health began catching up with her. She canceled the 2017 tour delayed Wouldn't It Be Great's release.

Lynn was married to Doolittle Lynn from 1948 until his death in 1996 at age 69. The couple had six children together, two of whom predeceased Lynn. Betty Sue Lynn died in July 2013 at 64. Jack Benny Lynn died in 1984 at 34.