Loretta Lynn Dead at 90

by Caitlin Berard
(Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images)

Country music legend Loretta Lynn has died at the age of 90, as confirmed by her family. She passed away peacefully at her home in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee on Tuesday (October 4).

“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 family said in a statement. They asked for privacy during this extremely difficult time.

Born into poverty, Loretta Lynn built success and a better life, both for herself and her family, through her music. For Loretta, making music wasn’t just about the passion and the success she hoped to achieve, however, one of her most important goals was always to inspire other women like herself.

“It was what I wanted to hear and what I knew other women wanted to hear, too,” Lynn told the AP in a 2016 interview. “I didn’t write for the men; I wrote for us women. And the men loved it, too.”

Through her honest lyrics and relatable story, Loretta quickly became an icon of country music. She was the first woman to ever earn the title of entertainer of the year, both by the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.

Loretta Lynn Was a True Inspiration to Listeners, Fellow Musicians

For Loretta Lynn, personal experience was the heart of her music. Like all of us, her life was far from perfect, but that’s what made her music so accessible. “I wrote about my heartaches, I wrote about everything,” she explained in an interview with the New York Times. “But when you get to hear the song, you just grin.”

Listening to Loretta always makes you feel as if she’s speaking directly to you, which is exactly what she wanted. “I’m proud I’ve got my own ideas,” she said in Finding Her Voice, a 1993 book chronicling the history of women in country music. “I’ve often wondered why I became so popular, and maybe that’s the reason. I think I reach people because I’m with ’em, not apart from ’em.”

Loretta Lynn’s philosophies on songwriting not only inspired millions of fans around the world but other country stars as well.

“Loretta always just said exactly what she was going through right then in her music,” country icon Miranda Lambert explained in the 2016 documentary Loretta Lynn: Still a Mountain Girl. “And that’s why it resonates with us.”

The First Lady of Country Music was so iconic, so revered, that her reach extended beyond the realm of country. Jack White, frontman of the legendary rock band The White Stripes, has always felt a great deal of admiration for Loretta Lynn.

She “was breaking down barriers for women at the right time,” he said in a 2004 interview. “The is how women live. This is what women are thinking.”