Legendary country singer Loretta Lynn died Tuesday at her home in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee. Her groundbreaking songs dealt with social issues such as poverty, women’s struggles and her own life in the classic song ‘Coal Miner’s Daughter’. At 90, she was an old woman.
Her relatives announced her death. Family members said in a statement that Lynn died at her home in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee on Tuesday. Loretta Lynn, “our precious mother,” “country icon and miner’s daughter Loretta Lynn passed away peacefully at age 90 this morning, Oct. 4 in her sleep at home at her beloved ranch in Hurricane Mills,” her family said in a statement.
Throughout her 60-year career, Lynn, one of the greatest singer-songwriters in country music history (if not the greatest, certainly the most influential), chronicled her life and struggles in songs and in the 1976 autobiography ., which became a hit 1980 film called Coal Miner’s Daughter, both of which earned Sissy Spacek an Oscar for her performance as Lynn.
Oliver Vanetta “Doolittle” Lynn, also known as “Mooney”, was her husband for 48 years and Tommy Lee Jones played him. Some of Lynn’s most famous songs include “Don’t Come Home a Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ on Your Mind)”, “Fist City”, “You Ain’t Woman Enough”, “One’s On The Way” and many more. Many of these songs are told from the perspective of a strong woman in a man’s world.
Lynn’s father, Ted Webb, was a miner and died at age 52 of black lung disease after Lynn and her young family left Kentucky, where Lynn was born on April 14, 1932.
Peggy Sue Webb and Crystal Gayle, both talented singers, were her younger sisters in their own right. I Come Home a-Drinkin’ (To a Worn-Out Wife Like You)” by their brother Jay Lee Webb was an answer song to Lynn’s hit and launched his brief chart career.
Lynn married a man she called “Doo” or “Doolittle” when she was 13 (although she sometimes said she was 15). (his other nickname, Mooney, was a reference to his occasional moons).
Lynn taught herself to play the guitar and began playing in Washington bars and coffee shops. “I’m a Honky Tonk Girl” was the first of her original songs, recorded in February 1960.
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After moving to Nashville, Lynn quickly became a mainstay on the Grand Ol’ Opry and released a string of hits beginning with “Fist City” in 1967. Other hits included “Your Squaw Is on the Warpath” and “You’ve Just Stepped In (From Stepping Out on Me).
With the release of “Coal Miner’s Daughter” in 1970, Lynn established herself as a mainstream artist. In the following years, she would sing about increasingly taboo subjects in songs such as “The Pill”, “One’s On The Way” and “Rated X”.
Lynn also collaborated extensively and fruitfully with fellow country hit-makers Ernest Tubb and Conway Twitty. In 1976, she co-wrote her autobiography with co-author George Vecesi, expanding the scope of her story beyond the realm of country music.
Her memoir, The Miner’s Daughter, in which she recounts her failed marriage, her poor upbringing, her early motherhood and the loss of her friend and mentor Patsy Cline in 1963, was a huge hit. Spacek won an Oscar for her performance as Lynn in the 1980 adaptation of Michael Apted’s novel, which also established her place in pop culture.
The 2018 Lifetime TV movie Patsy & Loretta, starring Jesse Mueller as Lynn and Megan Hilty as Klein, chronicled their friendship. Lynn’s recording and performing career continued into her 80s. She won two Grammys in 2004 for her album Van Lear Rose, which she recorded with rock musician Jack White. She was nominated for 18 Grammys, winning three.
Lynn was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Recording Academy in 2010. Additionally, “Coal Miner’s Daughter” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998.
Throughout her career, she would amass a total of sixteen No. 1 singles, five of which were duets with Tweety, and a total of thirty-nine top 10 singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart.
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Coal Miner’s Daughter, three albums recorded with Conway Twitty, and an album featuring Lynn, Dolly Parton and Tammy Wynette, Honky Tonk Angels (1993), all earned gold certifications for their sales success.
Daughters Patsy Lynn Russell, Peggy Lynn and Clara (Sissy) Marie Lynn, son Ernest Ray Lynn, 17 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren survive her, as do her sisters Gail and Webb.
At the family’s request, in lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Loretta Lynn Foundation. More details about a memorial service or celebration of life will be shared at a later date.