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Loretta Lynn, the American country music queen whose frank songs about life and love thrust her into stardom, has died. She was 90 years old.
"Our precious mom, Loretta Lynn, passed away peacefully this morning, October 4th, in her sleep at home in her beloved ranch in Hurricane Mills,'' her family said in a statement. A memorial will be announced at a later date.
'I wrote for us women'
Born Loretta Webb on April 14, 1932 in the Kentucky Appalachians, Lynn was the eldest daughter in an impoverished family of eight kids. She immortalized her urpbringing in the 1970 hit "Coal Miner's Daughter."
"We were poor but we had love / That's the one thing that daddy made sure of," Lynn sang. The song would later be used as the theme for a 1980 film of the same name about her life starring Sissy Spacek, who won an Oscar for the role.
Lynn had several other hits in the 1960s and '70s, including "You Ain't Woman Enough," "The Pill," "Don't Come Home a Drinkin' (With Lovin' on Your Mind),' "Rated X" and "You're Looking at Country."
"It was what I wanted to hear and what I knew other women wanted to hear, too," Lynn told the Associated Press in 2016. "I didn't write for the men; I wrote for us women. And the men loved it, too."
Lynn was the first woman to win the Country Music Association's "Entertainer of the Year" honor in 1972. She was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1988 and won virtually every arts honor available, including the prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom.
A complicated marriage
One recurring theme in Lynn's music and her public life was her complicated and sometimes-tumultuous marriage.
In 1948, aged just 15, the artist married 23-year-old Oliver "Doo" Lynn. They remained married for nearly 50 years until his death in 1996. Lynn gave birth to four children before the age of 20, adding twins to the family not long after.
Her husband bought her a guitar in the early 1950s and encouraged her to sing professionally.
But their relationship was complicated and marred by his drinking and cheating, her drug abuse, and mutual violence. "He never hit me one time that I didn't hit him back twice," the singer told US broadcaster CBS in an interview.
Country greats mourn a star
Reba McEntire was among the country music stars who reacted to Lynn's death, posting online about how the singer reminded her of her late mother.
"Strong women, who loved their children and were fiercely loyal. Now they're both in Heaven getting to visit and talk about how they were raised, how different country music is now from what it was when they were young," she wrote. "Sure makes me feel good that Mama went first so she could welcome Loretta into the hollers of heaven!''
Carly Pearce said that Lynn "showed us all how to unapologetically tell the truth."
Meanwhile, Crystal Gayle, Lynn's sister and a country music star in her own right, wrote that "the world lost a legend."
"We lost a sister," she added. "Love you Loretta."
zc/wd (AP, Reuters, AFP)
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