April 6, 2016: Rolling Stone: Merle Haggard, Country Legend, Dead at 79
Merle Haggard, who over six decades composed and performed one of the greatest repertoires in country music, capturing the American condition with his stories of the poor, the lost, the working class, heartbroken and hard-living, died at his home in the San Joaquin Valley, California, after a battle with pneumonia, his spokeswoman Tresa Redburn confirmed. He was 79.
Apr 6, 2016: NPR: Country Legend Merle Haggard Dies At 79
Merle Haggard was known by his fans as "Hag." With songs that reflected the working-class values and experiences of his own early life, Haggard found an audience in folks that saw the same. The country musician died Wednesday morning in California. It was his 79th birthday.
April 6, 2016: New York Times: Merle Haggard, Country Music’s Outlaw Hero, Dies at 79
Merle Haggard, one of the most successful singers in the history of country music, a contrarian populist whose songs about his scuffling early life and his time in prison made him the closest thing that the genre had to a real-life outlaw hero, died at his ranch in Northern California on Wednesday, his 79th birthday.
Jan 19, 2012: Washington Post: Merle Haggard cancels tour dates — not the first time he has toured while sick
Merle Haggard, country music icon, announced Thursday that he has canceled the remainder of his January tour dates to recuperate from pneumonia in a Georgia hospital. According to the Associated Press, Haggard has been sick since leaving his home in California last week.
Aug 31, 2010: NPR: Merle Haggard Reflects On His Outlaw Country Past
"There's no one in contemporary popular music who has created a more impressive legacy — or one that spans a wider variety of styles — than Merle Haggard," music critic Peter Guralnick once said.
April 6, 1937: Merle Ronald Haggard was born near Bakersfield, California.
Feb 21, 1958: After an escape attempt from the Bakersfield jail, Haggard he was transferred to San Quentin Prison.
May 6, 1974: Haggard appeared on the cover of TIME .
Oct 10, 1976: Haggard appeared in an episode of The Waltons entitled "The Comeback," season five, episode three, original air-date October 10, 1976. He played a bandleader named Red, who had been depressed since the death of his son (Ron Howard).
Sept 11, 1993: Haggard married his fifth wife, Theresa Ann Lane.
July 25, 2003: When political opponents were attacking the Dixie Chicks for criticizing President George W. Bush's 2003 invasion of Iraq, Haggard spoke up for the band, saying: I don't even know the Dixie Chicks, but I find it an insult for all the men and women who fought and died in past wars when almost the majority of America jumped down their throats for voicing an opinion. It was like a verbal witch-hunt and lynching.
Oct 2, 2007: Haggard released a bluegrass album, The Bluegrass Sessions.
November 3, 2008: Haggard had surgery during which part of his lung was removed.
November 9, 2008: It was announced that Haggard had been diagnosed with lung cancer
January 2, 2009: Haggard did a show in Bakersfield at Buck Owens Crystal Palace
January 3, 2009: Haggard did a show in Bakersfield at Buck Owens Crystal Palace
Dec 4, 2010: Haggard accepted a Kennedy Center Honor from the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in recognition of his lifetime achievement and "outstanding contribution to American culture".
Dec 5, 2010: Haggard was honored at a gala in Washington, DC, with musical performances by Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, Sheryl Crow, Vince Gill, Jamey Johnson, Kid Rock, Miranda Lambert, and Brad Paisley.
December 28, 2010: CBS telecast the Kennedy Center Honors.
June 14, 2013: The California State University, Bakersfield, awarded Haggard the honorary degree of Doctor of Fine Arts. Haggard stepped to the podium and said, "Thank you. It's nice to be noticed."
November 6, 2013: The mayor of Winchester, Virginia, awarded Haggard the Key to the City at the Patsy Cline Theatre after a sold-out show by Bonnie Blue Concerts
January 26, 2014: Haggard performed his 1969 song "Okie from Muskogee" at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards along with Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, and Blake Shelton
December 5, 2015: Haggard was treated at an undisclosed hospital in California for pneumonia
Feb 9, 2016: Haggard recorded what would be his last recording, a song called "Kern River Blues," described his departure from Bakersfield in the late 1970s and his displeasure with politicians. The song features his son Ben on guitar.
April 6, 2016: Merle Haggard died, his 79th birthday—at his ranch in Shasta County, California, having recently suffered from double pneumonia.
April 9, 2016: Haggard was buried in a private funeral at his ranch; longtime friend Marty Stuart officiated.
May 12, 2016: "Kern River Blues" was released.