Loretta Lynn, the country singer who defied conventions and expectations in her genre over an incredibly long career, has passed away at the age of 90. A representative said she died on Tuesday morning in her home in Tennessee to natural causes.

Loretta Lynn Cause Of Death

One of the singer’s best known tracks, “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” was made into a hit film in 1980. The song reflects on her childhood growing up in poverty in Kentucky, as well as her father’s experience working through the Great Depression.


Lynn never shied away from exploring topics controversial for country music at the time, and even had some songs banned from radio play because of it. She had hit songs about her late husband’s infidelity, feeling liberated by getting access to birth control pills, and teenagers losing their virginity which country music stations shied away from playing, but still became massively successful for being honest and unflinching.


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Loretta Lynn was born on April 4, 1932 in Butcher Hollow, Kentucky. She was the oldest of eight children, several of whom became country music singers as well. As her hit single suggests, her father mainly worked as a coal miner and also as a subsistence farmer. This led to his death at the relatively young age of 52 from black lung in 1959, before Lynn had seen any significant musical success.

When she was only 15 years old, Lynn married music manager Oliver “Mooney” Lynn when he was 21. They had apparently met only a month previously, and Oliver moved her to the Pacific Northwest where they began their family. He was supportive of Loretta’s musical aspirations and lined up her first radio performances, but Oliver was also known to be violent, temperamental and extremely unfaithful. Oliver died from heart failure in 1996.

One of Loretta’s breakout singles was “Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ On Your Mind),” in 1967 and its parent album was one of the first country albums by a female artist to sell over 50,000 copies.

While she recorded her first song and played at some local bars in Washington, Loretta became much more known in the country music scene in Nashville, Tennessee. She had equal appeal as a strong solo artist and a supportive duo singer as well. She recorded a full duet album with Ernest Tubb, for example, and had a long working relationship with Conway Twitty, recording several hit duets with him.

Her profile raised even higher when her bestselling autobiography turned into a feature film Coal Miner’s Daughter in 1980, which earned an Academy Award for Sissy Spacek‘s portrayal of Loretta. Following the 80s, Lynn would release projects more sporadically with several-year breaks in between, but still produced more boundary-pushing work including Van Lear Rose, a 2005 collaborative album with Jack White of The White Stripes.

A small slice of Lynn’s honors include three Grammy Awards, 10 number one albums on the country music charts, seven Academy of Music Awards, and recognition as Entertainer of the Year from the Country Music Association as well as induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

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