Merle Haggard dies aged 79

MusicBy Sunday World
Merle Haggard dies aged 79

Merle Haggard has died on his 79th birthday.

The country music legend passed away yesterday (06.04.16) at his home in northern California due to complications from pneumonia, his representative Lance Roberts has confirmed to CNN.

Merle's son Ben Haggard revealed Merle had predicted he would die on his birthday.

In a Facebook on Wednesday (06.04.16), he wrote: "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. (sic)"

Willie Nelson, 82, led tributes to the 'Okie From Muskogee' hitmaker, describing the singer/songwriter as a "brother" to him.

He posted a picture of the pair, which featured the caption: "He was my brother, my friend. I will miss him."

Merle and Willie teamed up last year for a new album, 'Django and Jimmie', which reached number one on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart and number seven on the Billboard 200.

Willie said at the time: "Merle's one of the best. There's not anyone out there that can beat him."

Dolly Parton, 70, who Merle had admitted to having a crush on and collaborated with on a number of occasions, also said she felt like his sibling.

She said: "We've lost one of the greatest writers and singers of all time.

"His heart was as tender as his love ballads. I loved him like a brother. Rest easy, Merle."

Clint Eastwood, 85, worked with Merle on 1980 Western movie 'Bronco Billy', and has admitted the late legend will be sorely missed.

He told Rolling Stone Country: "Merle will always be one of the greatest classic country artists of all time. He will be dearly missed."

Merle had been married five times and overcame a prison stint during his younger years to taste huge success as a country artist.

The late star still toured in recent years, but had to cancel some April gigs due to his declining health.