Loretta Lynn, the “Coal Miner’s Daughter” whose gutsy lyrics and twangy, down-home vocals made her a queen of country music for seven decades, has died. She was 90.
Lynn’s family said in a statement to CNN that she died Tuesday at her home in Tennessee.
“Our precious mom, Loretta Lynn, passed away peacefully this morning, October 4th, in her sleep at home in her beloved ranch in Hurricane Mills,” the statement read.
They asked for privacy as they grieve and said a memorial will be announced later.
Lynn, who had no formal music training but spent hours every day singing her babies to sleep, was known to churn out fully textured songs in a matter of minutes. She just wrote what she knew.
She lived in poverty for much of her early life, began having kids by age 17 and spent years married to a man prone to drinking and philandering – all of which became material for her plainspoken songs. Lynn’s life was rich with experiences most country stars of the time hadn’t had for themselves – but her female fans knew them intimately.
“So when I sing those country songs about women struggling to keep things going, you could say I’ve been there,” she wrote in her first memoir, “Coal Miner’s Daughter.” “Like I say, I know what it’s like to be pregnant and nervous and poor.”
Lynn scored hits with fiery songs like “Don’t Come Home A’ Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ On Your Mind)” and “You Ain’t Woman Enough (To Take My Man),” which topped the country charts in 1966 and made her the first female country singer to write a No. 1 hit.
Her songs recounted family history, skewered lousy husbands and commiserated with women, wives and mothers everywhere. Her tell-it-like-it-is style saw tracks such as “Rated X” and “The Pill” banned from radio, even as they became beloved classics.
“I wasn’t the first woman in country music,” Lynn told Esquire in 2007. “I was just the first one to stand up there and say what I thought, what life was about.”