Loretta Lynn, an icon of country music whose incredible career spanned more than six decades, has died at the age of 90, the Associated Press has reported. In a statement provided to AP, Lynn's family said she died Tuesday at her home in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee. No cause of death was given.
“Our precious mom, Loretta Lynn, passed away peacefully this morning, October 4, in her sleep at home in her beloved ranch in Hurricane Mills,” the statement read.
Born in 1932 in Butcher Hollow, Kentucky, and married (with a daughter) by the age of 16, Lynn rose from humble roots as a coal miner's daughter (which inspired the name of one of her most famous songs) with a number of country hits that touched on previously taboo subjects in the genre.
Songs such as Don’t Come Home A- Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ on Your Mind) took ne'er-do-well husbands to task, while Rated X looked frankly at divorce. The Pill – written about birth control – especially touched a nerve with the conservative Nashville establishment.
“It was what I wanted to hear and what I knew other women wanted to hear, too,” Lynn told the AP in 2016. “I didn’t write for the men; I wrote for us women. And the men loved it, too.”
From the early '60s – when she was discovered by talent scouts after years of singing in clubs – on, Lynn would have more than 50 top-10 country hits.
In the mid-2000s – after two decades of mostly declining commercial fortunes – Lynn experienced a remarkable resurgence in popularity, thanks in part to Jack White.
White – long a huge fan of Lynn's – worked with her on the 2004 album, Van Lear Rose, producing, playing guitar, and singing backup vocals on the LP. Just as the American Recordings albums had done for Johnny Cash a decade earlier, Van Lear Rose – the biggest crossover hit of her career – brought Lynn newfound acclaim, and her music to a more alt-rock/indie-inclined audience.
Lynn remained active onstage and in the studio, until she suffered a debilitating stroke in 2017.
She was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1988, and received a Kennedy Center honor in 2003. In 2013, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.
"Her first guitar cost $17 and with it this coal miner’s daughter gave voice to a generation, singing what no one wanted to talk about and saying what no one wanted to think about," Obama said of Lynn at the time.