Country legend Merle Haggard dies at 79 of pneumonia

FILE - In this Oct. 2, 2007 file photo, Merle Haggard poses at his ranch at Palo Cedro, Calif. Haggard died of pneumonia, Wednesday, April 6, 2016, in Palo Cedro, Calif. He was 79. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, FIle)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Country giant Merle Haggard, who celebrated 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, of pneumonia.

A masterful guitarist, fiddler and songwriter as well as singer, the Country Music Hall of Famer recorded for more than 40 years, releasing dozens of albums and No. 1 hits.

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