Loretta Lynn – A legend passed away today
By Karen Cotton for Country Music News International Magazine
If you’re a true country fan and you’re plugged into social media you may have heard that a legend passed away today — Loretta Lynn. She was 90 and the leading lady in country music. So many of her colleagues and fellow musicians adored and admired her and hundreds of tributes flooded social media and the news in her honor.
One of the most profound tribute statements to Lynn comes from Ricky Skaggs on Twitter:
“England just recently lost their Queen, & today we have lost ours. It’s a very sad day for the music industry. Loretta Lynn has gone on to her heavenly home. She did more for women in Country Music than anyone” – Ricky Skaggs
On Lynn’s official website fans can read her obituary and statement from her family.
“Our precious mom, Loretta Lynn, passed away peacefully this morning, October 4th, in her sleep at home at her beloved ranch in Hurricane Mills.”
The family has asked for privacy during this time, as they grieve. An announcement regarding a memorial will be forthcoming in a public announcement.
The statement reads as follows: “Over the course of her 60-year career, the famous native of Butcher Hollow, Ky. amassed a staggering 51 Top 10 hits, garnered every accolade available in music from GRAMMY awards to induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame, and broke down barriers for women everywhere with songs like “Don’t Come Home a Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ on Your Mind),” “Fist City” and “Coal Miner’s Daughter.”
Thanks to the Oscar-winning 1980 film Coal Miner’s Daughter starring Sissy Spacek, Lynn’s story and songs were brought to an even wider audience, amplifying her impact on several generations of songwriters and artists in various genres including Jack White, with whom Lynn made the GRAMMY-winning 2004 album Van Lear Rose.
Throughout her 80s, Loretta continued to write new songs and, in 2016, returned to the charts with the GRAMMY-nominated Full Circle, the first in a series of critically acclaimed albums produced by her daughter, Patsy Lynn Russell, and John Carter Cash at Cash Cabin Studio in Hendersonville, Tenn. She followed up with the seasonal classic White Christmas Blue (2016) and 2018’s GRAMMY-nominated Wouldn’t It Be Great, a combination of newly written songs and fresh interpretations of her catalog. In 2021, the American music icon released Still Woman Enough, a celebration of women in country music; her 50th studio album (not including her ten studio duet collaborations with Conway Twitty), Still Woman Enough featured a title track co-written with Patsy Lynn Russell and a deeply emotional “Coal Miner’s Daughter Recitation,” commemorating the 50th anniversary of the release of Lynn’s signature song (October 5, 1970) and album (January 4, 1971).
Lynn’s music and achievements were repeatedly recognized by all of the major awards bodies. She joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1962, won four GRAMMY awards, seven American Music Awards and eight Country Music Association awards. She was the first woman to win the Country Music Association and Academy of Country Music awards for Entertainer of the Year. She was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1988, the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2008, and was awarded the Kennedy Center Honors in 2003 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013. She sold over 45 million albums worldwide.”
The obituary and statement mentions her late husband and her family “Lynn was pre-deceased by her husband of 48 years Oliver Vanetta “Doolittle” Lynn, her daughter Betty Sue Lynn and son Jack Benny Lynn. She is survived by her daughters Patsy Lynn Russell, Peggy Lynn, Clara (Cissie) Marie Lynn and her son Ernest Ray Lynn as well as grandchildren Lori Lynn Smith, Ethan Lyell, Elizabeth Braun, Tayla Lynn, Jack Lynn, Ernest Ray Lynn Jr., Katherine Condya, Alexandria Lynn, Jasyntha Connelly, Megan Horkins, Anthony Brutto, Jason Lynn, Wesley Lynn, Levi Lynn, Emmy Rose Russell, David Russell, Lucca Marchetti and step grandchildren David Greer, Jennafer Russell, Melody Russell and Natalie Rapp, and her great-grandchildren. In lieu of flowers the family asks for donations to be made to the Loretta Lynn Foundation. Information about a memorial service/celebration of life will be made available at a later date. For more information, visit http://www.LorettaLynn.com.”
The King of Country George Strait paid tribute to Lynn on Twitter:
Strait said, “We’re sure going to miss @LorettaLynn. What an amazing woman and so unbelievably talented. Very thankful she shared that with all of us fans. God bless all of the family. Rest in Peace Loretta. See you down the road. — gs” and he also posted a picture of them together.
Barbara Mandrell also paid tribute to Lynn on Twitter: “Loretta Lynn paved the way for so many of us women in country music. what a legacy she leaves behind 🕊️” She posted a photo of her with Lynn, Reba McEntire, and Tanya Tucker.
Leann Rimes Cibrian posted a video of herself on Twitter paying tribute to Lynn and said, “Loretta Lynn paved the way for so many of us women in country music. what a legacy she leaves behind 🕊️”
Tracey Lawrence also paid tribute to her “I’m heartbroken to hear of Loretta’s passing. She’s been part of my musical life since birth. My mother was a fan & listened to her music while she was carrying me. In fact if I’d been born a girl my mother would’ve named me Loretta Lynn. God bless you miss Loretta.”
Clint Black said this on Twitter as his tribute to Lynn, “Nothing describes what it’s like to meet your musical heroes. Loretta Lynn was in a class all her own. Now the coal miner embraces his daughter again, as “One’s on the Way” home. @LorettaLynn”
Trace Adkins had this to say on Twitter about Lynn:
“Loretta Lynn: The poet that could contextualize her life has yet to be born. I’ll cherish the memories of the times I was in her presence. Rest In peace, darling. @LorettaLynn”
Carrie Underwood had this to say about Lynn on Twitter, “The first time I met Loretta Lynn was at the Grand Ole Opry at beginning of my career. I was chatting in the corner with another artist and someone walked behind me and smacked me on the rear end! I turned around and there she was…in a big sparkly dress.. instagram.com/p/CjTPieiOMxu
Kentucky’s Governor Andy BeShear had this to say about his state’s legend, “Today, all of Kentucky mourns the loss of our very own Loretta Lynn. She was a legend who blazed a trail in country music while telling the stories of Appalachia and Kentucky. She will be greatly missed, but her words and impact will live on forever. AB”
Literary giant, Stephen King, had this to say about Lynn’s death, “Loretta Lynn has passed on. America’s Van Lear Rose, and mine.”
Artists from BNoticed Pr had this to say about Lynn’s passing:
“There are simply no words to adequately describe my feelings at this loss. She was the Matriarch of our Opry Family the past several years and even though she could not be there in person, she was very much in that building, in our hearts, and on our minds. She was very welcoming to me when I came, asking me to sit down beside her and tell her about me. I was thrilled then and it still thrills me to think she was interested. In the end she just patted my knee and said “Don’t ever change”. Her impact on our industry through her songs was huge. She made everyone aware, starkly at times, of the plight of some women’s lives, and that awareness brought about changes. Of course, I will always remember her sense of humor! She would ask me to tell her a joke and then say “Tell Doo so he can explain it to me”! She will always be one of Country Music’s greatest gifts to the world.”–Jeannie Seely
“Kind, welcoming, sincere, thoughtful, how many positive attributes can I think of that describe Loretta Lynn. But one that I think of at the mention of her name is grateful. From side stage to backstage at the Opry, at her ranch in Hurricane Mills, to sharing the stage at a festival somewhere in America, there was always a sense of gratefulness that flowed from her. Not one to take for granted the talent, family, friends, fans, or the music that blessed her life and in turn blessed our lives. We will miss you Miss Loretta, we will miss you.”–John Berry
“As we all remember Loretta for her staggering musical gifts, her sense of humor, her compassion as the matriarch of a large family, I’ll be forever grateful to her, Patsy and Peggy for inviting me into her home and sharing her life story with me. God bless our Queen Loretta.”–John Cowan (New Grass Revival/Doobie Brothers)
“This is a day I’ll never forget! Ms. Loretta passed through those pearly gates on my Birthday! How bittersweet. She was my biggest influence, mentor, and dear friend. She was loved and adored by many, but she’ll always be extra special to me….that girl from Butcher Holler sure done good and lived a life to be admired! I’ll miss you Loretta Lynn, this world won’t be the same without you in it, but you sure left a mighty big footprint!”–Heidi Newfield
“Ms. Loretta was an inspiration and icon and the real deal to a Kentucky kid who was aiming to be a songwriter. Her story is so true that you could not make it up. She had grace, style and a kindness that permeated through her amazing career. A true groundbreaking legend. One of a kind.”–Kent Blazy
“I saw Loretta and Conway when I was just a kid in Montgomery, Alabama. I never dreamed that one day I would write a song with her. I was honored to sing a Conway/Loretta duet with her back in 2016 at her July 4th show at her ranch. It felt like I was singing with a queen. I guess I was. The world just isn’t the same when you lose someone like Loretta.”–Bobby Tomberlin
“My grandmother, Dottie West, wasn’t the only one to grow up on ‘Country Sunshine.’ I don’t think they come any more country than Loretta Lynn. She was a family friend, but also one of those original trailblazing women in country music. I’m certain as soon as my grandmother hears that country accent in heaven, she’ll know it’s Loretta. Country music won’t be remembered without her name. Rest in Peace friend.”–Tess Frizzell
“With every word she sang, you felt like you were living her songs. We never met Loretta Lynn personally, but have always admired her for her honesty, love for her fans, her faith in God and the love that she had for her husband, Doolittle. She was always proud of the eastern Kentucky hills she called home. She was a role model and a shining example for all of us. Rest easy, Miss Loretta.”–Darin & Brooke Aldridge
“Loretta Lynn was hands down one of my biggest inspirations, not only in music, but in my life. When I was nine years old, my momma taught me the lyrics to ‘Coal Miner’s Daughter,’ and it forever changed my life. It became the song that got me on my first professional stage, and was the song that taught me how music can heal and help people through any situation. When I was 10, I was performing at a long-term care facility where I met a real-life coal miner’s daughter who was living with Alzheimer’s. She didn’t remember anything about her life, but when I sang ‘Coal Miner’s Daughter,’ she remembered her childhood, her parents and siblings, and the amazing life she had lived. All of that came back to her because of the truth and powerful lyrics Mrs. Loretta Lynn wrote into her songs. Mrs. Loretta taught me the power of music, and through her music, she taught me to stay true to myself, and showed me the woman I want to be. I’ve always said my best friends growing up were Loretta Lynn and Patsy Cline, because they were there for me when it felt like no one else was. I’m so heartbroken to hear of Mrs. Loretta’s passing, but I know she is with Patsy and Doo. My heart goes out to all of her family, friends and everyone who loved her. She will forever be one of the best and greatest women who ever lived. Thank you for the songs Mrs. Loretta, and thank you for being the reason I love music. You will always be the greatest country artist ever in my book.”–Dallas Remington
“We lost an icon today. Loretta Lynn represented the best our genre has to offer. She was a true pioneer who wasn’t afraid to stand out by singing openly and honestly about difficult topics, and someone all of us young artists could look up to. She will be missed greatly, but her spirit will live on forever in her vast catalog of music.”–Bryan Ruby
“I was so deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Miss Loretta. Words can’t begin to describe what a loss this is to our Country music family. My Papa Steve was a big Loretta fan, so we have so many of her original vinyl records that we still play. She paved the way for female artists like myself and showed that it all can be done. She had the most iconic sound, style and story that will never be forgotten. My love and prayers go out to her family and friends. There is so much sweet music in heaven today.”–Danielle Kleha
“I am so sorry to hear about the passing of Loretta. She was one of the most legendary, and best artists to ever step on a stage. She was way ahead of her time, paving the way for female Country artists in so many ways with her writing and performing. She will be missed so much, but thankfully, her music will live on. Prayers for her family and all of the many people who loved her.”–Taylon Hope
“Ms. Loretta was a pioneer in country music and subsequently opened the door for other female Country artists. She’s an absolute legend and will be sorely missed.”–Jason Brownie