Country music legend Merle Haggard died Wednesday, on the singer’s 79th birthday.
Haggard had been battling pneumonia, and was hospitalized earlier this year.
The Tennessean reports that Haggard died in California. His health woes had led the singer to cancel a number of shows recently.
Becoming involved in Bakersfield’s music scene, Haggard played bass in Buck Owens’ band, and played with Wynn Stewart before making his own mark in music.
Haggard released is debut single, “Skid Row,” in 1962, scoring his first Top 20 hit with his follow-up, “Sing Me a Sad Song.”