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As one of country music’s greatest legends, it’s understandable why fans have questions over how Loretta Lynn died
and what her cause of death was when she passed.
Loretta, whose maiden name is Webb, was born in Butcher Hollow, Kentucky, on April 14, 1932. She was the eldest daughter and second eldest child of six kids. Her father was a farmer and coal miner. She released her first single “I’m a Honky Tonk Girl” in 1960 followed by her debut album, Loretta Lynn Sings, in 1963. Throughout her six decades in country music, Loretta went on to release multiple bestselling albums and singles, including “You Ain’t Woman Enough (To Take My Man)”, “Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ on Your Mind)”, “One’s on the Way”, “Fist City”, and “Coal Miner’s Daughter.” Her memoir, Coal Miner’s Daughter, was also made into a movie of the same name in 1980. The film, which starred Sissy Spacek as Loretta, went on to receive seven Oscar nominations at the 53rd Academy Awards, including for Best Picture. Spacek also won an Oscar for Best Actress for her performance as Loretta.
Throughout her career, Loretta won three Grammy Awards of 18 nominations, scored 24 number-one hit single and 11 number-one albums, and was named the Academy of Country Music’s Artist of the Decade. Four years before her death, Loretta was presented with the Artist of a Lifetime award at CMT Artists of the Year ceremony in 2018. “I don’t have nothing to prove but I have stuff I want to do,” she told People at the time. “And my fans want me to do it too. My fans are out there with me saying, ‘Do it Loretta. Do it.’”
After more than 60 years in country music, Loretta Lynn died on the morning of October 4, 2022, at her home in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee. She was 90 years old. “So sorry to hear about my sister, friend Loretta. We’ve been like sisters all the years we’ve been in Nashville and she was a wonderful human being, wonderful talent, had millions of fans and I’m one of them. I miss her dearly as we all will May she rest in peace,” her friend and frequent collaborator Dolly Parton wrote in an Instagram post at the time. So how did Loretta Lynn die
and what was her cause of death? Read on for what we know about how Loretta Lynn died and what her health was like before she passed.
How did Loretta Lynn die?
How did Loretta Lynn die? Loretta died in her sleep on the morning of October 4, 2022. She was 90 years old. She passed way at her home in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee, a town 70 miles west of Nashville. “Our precious mom, Loretta Lynn, passed away peacefully this morning, Oct. 4, in her sleep at home in her beloved ranch in Hurricane Mills,” her family said in a statement at the time.
After the news of her death, many celebrities, including Dolly Parton, Carrie Underwood and Reba McEntire, paid tribute to Loretta on social media. “The first time I met Loretta Lynn was at the Grand Ole Opry at beginning of my career. I was chatting in the corner with another artist and someone walked behind me and smacked me on the rear end! I turned around and there she was…in a big sparkly dress…laughing as she continued to walk down the hall at what she had just done….” Underwood wrote in an Instagram post at the time. “This is one of my most favorite stories to tell. I think it sums up her personality pretty well. She was a cantankerous little pistol…friendly and sweet…never afraid to be herself and speak her mind. Over the years, I have had the honor of singing for her…and also with her…in some of the most special moments of my career. She is irreplaceable. She will be incredibly missed…but her legacy lives on in those of us whom she has influenced. I am truly grateful to have known such an amazing woman and artist. Thank you, Loretta, for showing us how it’s done. May you Rest In Peace in the arms of Jesus and add your heavenly voice to the angel choir. Love you!”
McEntire said in a statement to Variety “Mama and Loretta were four years apart, mama being the oldest. They always reminded me a lot of each other. Strong women, who loved their children and were fiercely loyal Now they’re both in heaven getting to visit and talk about how they were raised, how different country music is now from what it was when they were young. Sure makes me feel good that mama went first so she could welcome Loretta into the hollers of heaven. I always did and I always will love Loretta. She was always so nice to me. I sure appreciate her paving the rough and rocky road for all us girl singers.”
What was Loretta Lynn’s cause of death?
What was Loretta Lynn’s cause of death? Loretta’s family confirmed she died of natural causes in a statement to The Los Angeles Times. Loretta’s death came five years she was hospitalized for a stroke in May 2017, a month after she celebrated her 85th birthday. “American country music legend Loretta Lynn was admitted into a hospital in Nashville last night after she suffered a stroke at her home in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee. She is currently under medical care and is responsive and expected to make a full recovery. Loretta, who just celebrated her 85th birthday, has been advised by her doctors to stay off the road while she is recuperating. Regrettably, upcoming scheduled shows will be postponed,” a representative said in a statement on her Facebook page at the time.
Seven months after the stroke, Lynn suffered a severe fall in her home and fractured her hip in January 2018. “This is my birthday week!” her younger sister, Crystal Gayle, wrote in a tweet at the time. “My birthday wish is for everyone to send love and prayers to my sister, Loretta Lynn, who fell and broke her hip last week.” She continued, “I was with Loretta yesterday. She is in good spirits and is doing as well as can be expected with this type of injury. Thank you for your love, prayers and continued support! Love you! Love you, Sis!”
A representative for Loretta also confirmed the injury in a statement on the singer’s Twitter account. “American music icon, Loretta Lynn is recovering from a fractured hip after a fall while at home. She is doing well and thanks all her fans for their thoughts and prayers.” Loretta gave an update on her health in an interview on the TODAY show in October 2018. “I feel great,” she said at the time. “I feel so good that I’m ashamed to even say I feel so good!”
After the stroke and hip injury, Loretta told People that she temporarily moved from her ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee, to a home closer to her doctors in Nashville. “I wasn’t goin’ to let it stop me. You just can’t sit down and say ‘Hey, take me,'” she said at the time. Lynn recalled the moment she had a stroke to People, explaining that she was at home when she suddenly realized she couldn’t use her left hand or arm. “It’s a very scary thing when you find out you’re havin’ a stroke,” she said. “I wondered if I could sing. Mommy said I was born singin’. That’s all I’ve ever done. I couldn’t believe that that could be taken away.” While her voice remained the same, Loretta revealed that her left side was affected by the stroke. “Your mind tells you, ‘You can!’ but your body soon tells you, ‘No you can’t quite do this,’” she said. “Got to work at it.”
After the stroke, Loretta told People that she started immediately physical therapy to rehabilitate the left side of her body. “I told the girl that was doing therapy with me, ‘Do not help me anymore. The next time you see me, I will be using my hand and arm,’ and I was, and she could not believe it,” she said. However, Loretta’s left side wasn’t the only part of her body affected by the stroke. She also told People that the stroke affected her hearing and timing, which was a struggle when she started singing and performing again. “I always had a different mindset — that I can do this. Just keep it up,” she said. She also responded to fans who doubted she would perform again after her stroke and hip injury, which occurred on New Year’s Day after she fell in her home. “I think people thought I wouldn’t come back from that,” Lynn says. “And they’re really shocked when I tell them, ‘Well, I’m doing good, I’m moving my arms, I’m moving all my parts and I can still sing,'” she said.
Still, Loretta admitted to People at the time that her left side was weaker from the stroke, which also affected her memory. “Every now and then, I’ll look around and think of my home and I’ll say, ‘Am I at the ranch?’ And [my daughter] Patsy will say, ‘No, Momma, you’re here in Kingston Springs.’ And it’ll kinda bring me back to reality,” she said. She also told People that the stroke made her move slower and rely on a walker and sometimes a wheelchair. “I hate that damn wheelchair,” she said.
A year later, Loretta also responded to rumors she was in a “nursing home” and on her “death bed” in June 2019. “Hey, this says I’m in a nursing home and on my death bed? You’re kidding me!” she said in a Facebook video as she read an article about her on an iPad. “I ain’t dead and neither is Willie. We’re both coming back to life and we’re going to raise hell.” She captioned the video, “Well, through the years they’ve said I’m broke, homeless, cheating, drinking, gone crazy, terminally ill, and even dead! Poor things can’t ever get it right. I guess if those old pesky tabloids are harassing me then they’re giving someone else a break……but I’m about an inch from taking ’em to Fist City!” She also included the hashtags: “#raisinghell #yourmommashouldataughtyoubetter #tellthetruth #fistcity #trashtalkingtabloids #fakenews #liarliarpantsonfire”
For more about Loretta Lynn, read her memoir, Coal Miner’s Daughter. The New York Times bestseller—which was the inspiration of the 1980 Oscar-winning movie of the same name starring Sissy Spacek—takes readers through her life and career, from her dirt-poor childhood in the mountains of Kentucky, to her marriage at the age of 13, to becoming a grandmother at the age 29, to how she became one of the most prolific and influential artists in country music history. Told in Loretta Lynn’s own words, Coal Miner’s Daughter “introduces readers to all the highs and lows on her road to success and the tough, smart, funny, and fascinating woman behind the legend,” according to the publisher’s description.
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