Loretta Lynn, the legendary coal miner’s daughter known for her honest storytelling and strong voice passed away Tuesday morning at her home in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee. She was 90.
“Our precious mom, Loretta Lynn, passed away peacefully this morning, October 4th, in her sleep at home at her beloved ranch in Hurricane Mills,” Lynn’s family said in a statement. An announcement on a memorial service is forthcoming.
Born Loretta Webb, the singer was raised in a remote coal mining community in the Appalachian Mountains of eastern Kentucky.
Lynn wrote from a distinctly female perspective and wasn’t afraid to sing about topics considered uncommon — especially in the conservative country genre. Her first No. 1, 1967’s “Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ on Your Mind),” saw her reject her husband’s drunken sexual advances. In 1972, she released “Rated ‘X,’” which bemoans the double standards placed upon divorced men and women.
“I wrote about my heartaches, I wrote about everything,” she said in a 2016 interview with The Times. “But when you get to hear the song, you just grin.”
“I like real life, because that’s what we’re doing today,” Lynn told All Things Considered in 2004. “And I think that’s why people bought my records, because they’re living in this world. And so am I. So I see what’s going on, and I grab it.”
Legendary status, Lynn released the birth control anthem “The Pill” in 1975, which celebrated women’s then-new ability to decide when to have children. Many country radio stations refused to play the song, which they deemed risqué, but “The Pill” cemented Lynn as a feminist icon.
In 1976 Lynn released the autobiography Coal Miner’s Daughter, which became a bestseller. Four years later, her book became a movie and won the academy award for best picture.
She is the most awarded female country recording artist. Some of her accolades include three Grammy Awards, seven American Music Awards, induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame, the Kennedy Center Honors, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Lynn continued to release music until her death.
“I’m proud I’ve got my own ideas, but I ain’t no better than nobody else,” she was quoted as saying in “Finding Her Voice” (1993), Mary A. Bufwack and Robert K. Oermann’s comprehensive 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.”