Country star Merle Haggard dies on 79th birthday

In this May 3, 2014 file photo, Merle Haggard performs in concert at Harrah’s Resort in Atlantic City, N.J. (Photo by Owen Sweeney/Invision/AP, File)
In this May 3, 2014 file photo, Merle Haggard performs in concert at Harrah’s Resort in Atlantic City, N.J. (Photo by Owen Sweeney/Invision/AP, File)

- Country music legend Merle Haggard died Wednesday of pneumonia in California on his 79th birthday, according to manager, Frank Mull.

Last year, Haggard was hospitalized for treatment of a reoccurring bout of double pneumonia.

The masterful guitarist, fiddler, songwriter and singer celebrated outlaws and underdogs. He showed an abiding sense of national pride with hit songs such as 'Okie From Muskogee' and 'Sing Me Back Home.'

The Country Music Hall of Famer recorded for more than 40 years, releasing dozens of albums and No. 1 hits.

A statement from his publicist on Tuesday, March 1, 2016, said he has had to postpone his concert dates in March.

The singer had also canceled some dates in February because he was still feeling weak from a previous case of pneumonia in both lungs, but then returned to the stage last month. 

With the Associated Press

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