Loretta Lynn, 'Coal Miner's Daughter' singer, dies aged 90

Country music star had more than 50 top-10 hits

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Loretta Lynn, the coal miner's daughter from a hill in Butcher Holler, Kentucky, who became one of American country music's biggest stars died on Tuesday at the age of 90, her family said on Twitter.

Lynn died at her home in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee, the family said in a Twitter post.

“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 post said.

Lynn, who through her music became an accidental feminist, once told an interviewer that 14 of her songs had been banned by radio stations.

“I wasn't the first woman in country music,” she told Esquire magazine in 2007. “I was just the first one to stand up there and say what I thought, what life was about. The rest were afraid to.”

Lynn's down-home twangy voice was a regular feature on country music radio and honky-tonk juke boxes in the 1960s and 1970s as she scored hits with songs such as Fist City, You Ain't Woman Enough (to Take My Man) and the autobiographical Coal Miner's Daughter. According to her website, Lynn had more than 50 top-10 hits.

Lynn and Jack White from the White Stripes. PA Images / Getty Images

Stardom seemed unlikely for Lynn growing up in Butcher Holler, where her miner father died of black lung disease at age 52. Lynn claimed to have been 13 years old in 1948 when she married Oliver (Doo) Lynn, 23, and by the time she reached 18, she was the mother of four children.

She and her husband moved to Washington state in the 1950s and it was there that her music career began to bloom. On her 24th birthday he gave Lynn a $17 guitar and lots of encouragement. She taught herself to play and began performing at radio stations. By 1960 she had a recording contract and a self-written hit, I'm a Honky-Tonk Girl.

The couple drove around the US visiting radio stations to promote her work before ending up in the country music capital of Nashville, Tennessee.

Sissy Spacek won a Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal of Lynn in the 1980 hit Coal Miner's Daughter. Photo: IMDb

Lynn was the first female to win the Country Music Association's “Entertainer of the Year” honour in 1972. She won seven other CMA awards, was voted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1988 and won 12 Academy of Country Music Awards.

She won three Grammy awards as an artist — one for the song After the Fire Is Gone with long time duet partner Conway Twitty and two in 2004 for her work on the album Van Lear Rose, a collaboration with rocker Jack White of the White Stripes on which she wrote or co-wrote every song.

In 2003, Lynn was honoured by the Kennedy Centre for her contribution to American culture and was given a Grammy Award for lifetime achievement in 2010. Three years later, president Barack Obama presented her a Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Reuters contributed to this report

Updated: October 04, 2022, 4:39 PM