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Country music legend Merle Haggard dies at 79

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    Merle Haggard speaks at a news conference in New York City on April 6, 1974.

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    In this 1977 photo, Merle Haggard performs at the Country Music Association Awards in Nashville, Tenn. The Associated Press

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    Merle Haggard performs at the Country Music Association Awards in Nashville in October 1983.

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    Merle Haggard points to a map showing an eight-state train trip he planned to start in September 1985 in response to the plight of the American family farmer. The trip included a performance in Willie Nelson’s Farm Aid benefit.

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    Country music legend Merle Haggard introduces fellow legend Charlie Pride at the Country Music Association Awards show at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville on Oct. 4, 2000. Pride was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. JM/SV - RTR93CL

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    Music legends Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson perform together at the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles on May 5, 2004. Nelson was taping "Willie Nelson & Friends: Outlaws and Angels," a two-hour television broadcast.

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    Merle Haggard performs at the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles in January 2014.

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    Merle Haggard was a masterful guitarist, fiddler and songwriter as well as singer, and recorded for more than 40 years, releasing dozens of albums and No. 1 hits.

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    Merle Haggard accepts the "Artist of a Lifetime" award during the CMT Artist of the Year Awards on Dec. 2, 2014, in Nashville.

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    Merle Haggard performs at the 2015 Big Barrel Country Music Festival on June 28 in Dover, Del.

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    Merle Haggard appears at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in Washington where he and his sister Lillian Haggard Hoge donated belongings their family took on their Dust Bowl-era move from Oklahoma to California on Route 66. The Associated Press

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