‘Coal Miner’s Daughter’ singer Loretta Lynn dies at 90

Loretta Lynn, the daughter of a hillside coal miner from Butcher Holler, Kentucky, who became one of America’s biggest country music stars, died Tuesday at the age of 90, it was announced his family on Twitter.

Lynn died at her home in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee, the family said in a post on Twitter.

“Our precious mom, Loretta Lynn, passed away peacefully this morning, October 4th, in her sleep at home on her beloved ranch in Hurricane Mills,” the post read.

Lynn, who through her music became an accidental feminist, once told an interviewer that 14 of her songs had been banned by radio stations.

“I wasn’t the first woman to do country music,” she said Squire magazine in 2007. “I was just the first one to stand up and say what I thought, what life was about. The others were afraid to do it.

Lynn’s twangy voice was a regular feature of country music radio and honky-tonk jukeboxes in the 1960s and 1970s as she scored hits with songs such as fist city, You’re not woman enough (to take my man) and the autobiography coal miner’s daughter. According to her website, Lynn had over 50 top 10 hits.

Stardom seemed unlikely for Lynn growing up in Butcher Holler, where her underage father died of black lung disease at the age of 52. Lynn claimed she was 13 in 1948 when she married 23-year-old Oliver (Doo) Lynn, and by the time she turned 18 she was a mother of four.

She and her husband moved to Washington State in the 1950s and it was there that her musical career began to flourish. On his 24th birthday, he gave Lynn a $17 guitar and lots of encouragement. She taught herself to play and started performing at radio stations. In 1960 she had a recording contract and a self-penned hit, I’m a honky-tonk girl.

The couple scoured visiting American radio stations to promote their work before reuniting in the country music capital of Nashville, Tennessee.

Sissy Spacek won the Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal of Lynn in the 1980 hit Coal Miner's Daughter. Photo: IMDb

Lynn was the first woman to win the Country Music Association’s “Entertainer of the Year” award in 1972. She won seven other CMA awards, was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1988, and won 12 Academy of Country Music Awards.

She won three Grammy Awards as an artist – one for song After the fire is gone with longtime partner Conway Twitty and two in 2004 for his work on the album Rose Van Leara collaboration with rocker Jack White of the White Stripes on which she wrote or co-wrote every song.

In 2003, Lynn was honored by the Kennedy Center for her contribution to American culture and received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010. Three years later, President Barack Obama presented her with a Presidential Medal of freedom.

Reuters contributed to this report

Updated: October 04, 2022, 4:39 p.m.

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