Sissy Spacek Releases Emotional Statement on Loretta Lynn’s Death

by Alex Falls
Bryan Bedder / Staff / Getty

The news broke yesterday that legendary county music star Loretta Lynn passed away. The music world morns the loss of an icon who had wide a ranging impact on the entertainment world.

While she’s best remembered for her almost countless classic country songs, she also had an impact on the world of film. Her life was the subject of Coal Miner’s Daughter, the classic film named after her hit 1970 song of the same name. In the film, Lynn is portrayed by Sissy Spacek, who won an Oscar for her portrayal of the music icon.

At first, Spacek was hesitant to take on such a major role, but Lynn handpicked Spacek to portray her in the film and made the decision for her. Afterward, Spacek and Lynn became lifelong friends and the film became a hit with audiences. Now, Spacek has issued a statement remembering her friend.

“Today is a sad day,” Spacek said. “The world lost a magnificent human being. Loretta Lynn was a great artist, a strong and resilient country music pioneer and a precious friend. I am heartbroken. I send my deepest sympathies to her wonderful family, her friends, and her loyal fans.”

In her memoir, My Extraordinary Ordinary Life published in 2012, Spacek details how she worked with Lynn to nail her signature Appalachian accent, singing style, and speech patterns. Lynn encouraged Spacek to sing for real in the film instead of lip-syncing her songs and she mentored the actress to emulate Lynn’s guitar-playing style.

Loretta Lynn’s Musical Achievements

Lynn’s family confirmed the news of her passing on Tuesday. “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.

As a songwriter, Lynn crafted a persona of a defiantly tough woman. A stark contrast to the stereotypical image of most female country singers of the era. She wrote fearlessly about sex and love, cheating husbands, divorce, and birth control. She would often get in trouble with radio programmers for material from which even rock performers once shied away.

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

Lynn’s honesty and unique place in country music received honors multiple times during her career. She was the first woman ever named entertainer of the year at the genre’s two major awards shows. First by the Country Music Association in 1972 and then by the Academy of Country Music three years later. She won three Grammy Awards after 18 nominations. In 1988, she was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.