Merle Haggard dies from pneumonia on 79th birthday

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Country giant Merle Haggard, who rose from poverty and prison to international fame though his songs about outlaws, underdogs and an abiding sense of national pride in such hits as “Okie From Muskogee” and “Sing Me Back Home,” died Wednesday at 79, on his birthday.
Haggard’s manager, Frank Mull, said the country icon died in Palo Cedro, California, 8 miles east of Redding, of pneumonia that he had been battling for months. He had kept up an ambitious touring schedule, but the pneumonia in both lungs had forced him to cancel several shows this year.
A masterful guitarist,

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