PALO CEDRO, California — When Merle Haggard passed away Wednesday on his 79th birthday, it came as no surprise to his family.
According to his son, Ben Haggard, his father told the family a week ago that “he was gonna pass on his birthday, and he wasn’t wrong.”
Haggard’s son posted an emotional picture on Facebook that showed his hand on his father’s hand just before he died.
“A (sic) hour ago he took his last breath surrounded by family and friends,” Ben Haggard wrote on Facebook. “He loved everything about life and he loved that everyone of you gave him a chance with his music. He wasn’t just a country singer. He was the best country singer that ever lived.”
Haggard’s manager, Frank Mull, said the country music icon died in Palo Cedro, California, of pneumonia.
He was touring and set to perform Thursday night in Missouri, but canceled his April shows last week.
Ben Haggard played guitar in his father’s band “The Strangers.” He is also a singer and is currently working on his debut album. He has posted many videos on his Facebook page. His most recent video was posted on March 21st and was titled “He was gone too soon.”