Not long after Merle Haggard passed away on Wednesday morning (April 6), country artists everywhere dropped everything to remember their hero and inspiration.
Toby Keith perhaps said it best in a statement he issued
“The greatest singer songwriter of my lifetime is gone,” he said. “Thanks for the music and friendship. R.I.P. Hag”
Longtime friend and collaborator Willie Nelson also offered his thoughts in a succinct he provided.
“He was my brother, my friend,” he said. “I will miss him.”
Keith Urban said Haggard and his band, the Strangers, had a profound effect on him while growing up in Australia and later when he witnessed one of Haggard’s concerts in the U.S.
“One of the great concert memories I have is seeing Merle and the Strangers at the Ryman in Nashville,” Urban said. “We had a ‘live’ album of his when I was growing up, and I felt like I’d fallen inside my Dad’s stereo speakers. One of my all-time favorite voices — and a master songwriter. Blessings to your soulful spirit, Merle, and all of you family and loved ones.”
Others took to social media to offer their thoughts.
Love and prayers for the Haggard family. Merle was a pioneer…a true entertainer…a legend. There will never be another like him.
— Carrie Underwood (@carrieunderwood) April 6, 2016
A true hero was lost today. Thank you for your contribution to not only country music but all music. @merlehaggard
— Luke Bryan (@LukeBryanOnline) April 6, 2016
— Jason Aldean (@Jason_Aldean) April 6, 2016
There are no words to describe the loss & sorrow felt within all of music with the passing of Merle Haggard. Thank God for his life & songs.
— Brad Paisley (@BradPaisley) April 6, 2016
literally just fell to the floor. can't believe we lost the hag. rip merle haggard
— Dierks Bentley (@DierksBentley) April 6, 2016
It felt like the world stopped for a moment when I heard about Merle Haggard…such an icon…thanks for your gift to all of us brother
— Brett Eldredge (@bretteldredge) April 6, 2016
RIP Merle…you paved the way for so many. You had what we all hope for…a voice that matters and survives the ever changing trends.
— Kip Moore (@KipMooreMusic) April 6, 2016
Our hearts are heavy w the sad news of Merle's passing.Thanks for your lifelong contribution 2 country music. Your influence is astronomical
— EliYoungBand (@EliYoungBand) April 6, 2016
Hard to believe the news about Merle Haggard. Working with him is something I'll never forget & will cherish forever pic.twitter.com/XsgqYvbtD5
— Dustin Lynch (@dustinlynch) April 6, 2016
I just told my little girl @merlehaggard has passed away and gone to heaven. She said, "that's okay daddy,We will get to go to heaven too.
— Jake Owen (@jakeowen) April 6, 2016
There will never be another artist like the Hag… Rest In Peace Merle Haggard
— ChrisYoungMusic (@ChrisYoungMusic) April 6, 2016
rip @merlehaggard thank you for all the great music u blessed us with. we will play it forever
— Billy Currington (@billycurrington) April 6, 2016
We lost one of the best today. Rest in peace Merle Haggard…. You will be missed pic.twitter.com/672bX7VSEy
— Tyler Farr (@tylerfarr) April 6, 2016
No one could steer me right but Mama tried…
— Chase Rice (@ChaseRiceMusic) April 6, 2016
Rest in peace. https://t.co/npaDMJMQVz
— Eric Church (@ericchurch) April 6, 2016
I think I'll just stay here and drink. 💔
— KACEY MUSGRAVES (@KaceyMusgraves) April 6, 2016
Just heard the news. I'm so so sad. I don't even know what else to say….
— Martina McBride (@martinamcbride) April 6, 2016