Country Legend Merle Haggard Dies On His 79th Birthday (A Top Story)
Haggard's son Ben wrote the following on his official Facebook, "A week ago dad told us he was gonna pass on his birthday, and he wasn't wrong. A hour ago he took his last breath surrounded by family and friends.
"He loved everything about life and he loved that everyone of you gave him a chance with his music. He wasn't just a country singer.. He was the best country singer that ever lived.
The Country Music Hall of Fame star enjoyed a long hit-making career including the classics "Okie From Muskogee," and "Today I Started Loving You Again".
Haggard was hospitalized back in December of last year and again last month for his battle with pneumonia. A number of country music stars paid tribute to Haggard. - See them here.