Loretta Lynn has one of the most incredible legacies in all of country music. The Kentucky native first hit the scene back in 1960, when she landed a recording contract off her single “I’m a Honky Tonk Girl.” She then hit number one on the charts in 1967 with “Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ on Your Mind)”, which became one of the first albums by a female country artist to reach sales of 500,000 copies. With two more mega hits in “You Ain’t Woman Enough (To Take My Man)” and “Coal’s Miner’s Daughter,” it’s easy to see how Loretta landed 18 Grammy nominations and 3 wins! After decades in the music industry, Loretta sadly died at 90 years old on Tuesday, October 4.
Loretta’s family announced her death in a statement, while also asking for privacy. “Our precious mom, Loretta Lynn, passed away peacefully this morning, October 4th, in her sleep at home at her beloved ranch in Hurricane Mills,” they said.
Her personal life has created quite the legacy as well. In 1948, at the age of 15, Loretta married Oliver Vanetta Lynn, Jr., who was 21 at the time. Despite her claims of a tumultuous relationship, including infidelity and abuse, the couple remained married for almost 50 years until Oliver’s death in 1996. “Doo was a good man and a hard worker,” she wrote in her autobiography Still Woman Enough. “But he was an alcoholic, and it affected our marriage all the way through. He was also a womanizer.”
The marriage also led to the couple welcoming a total of six children! The ‘Coal Miner’s Daughter’ singer sadly had two of her children pass away. Find out all about Loretta’s big, beautiful brood below!
Shortly after she walked down the aisle with Oliver, Loretta welcomed their first child together, daughter Betty Sue, on November 26, 1948. At just 64 years old, Betty Sue passed away from emphysema at the family ranch on July 29, 2013. She left behind two daughters, Lynn Markworth and Audrey Dyer, and five grandchildren.
A year after Betty Sue was born, Loretta and Oliver welcomed their first son, Jack Benny. Sadly, he also passed away before his parents. In July 1984, Jack drowned on the family ranch while trying to cross their river on horseback. “Sometime in the evening horse and rider tried to ford the often treacherous Duck River that bisects the Lynn spread. They never made it: On Tuesday a sheriff’s search party found the horse standing beneath a river bluff, and Jack’s body in the water nearby,” read a report from People at the time.
Ernest Ray “Ernie”
Born on May 27, 1951, Ernie was the second son of the growing group. Ernie tried his hand at music as well, with his greatest success being his country music star daughter Tayla Lynn.
Clara Marie “Cissie”
Cissie was welcomed into the fold shortly after Ernie was born, arriving on April 7, 1952. She immediately followed in her famous mother’s footsteps and began taking music lessons at a very early age, according to diyTrends. Cissie became known for covering Loretta’s tunes. She also had her own single called “Rodeo Lady” that did fairly well on the charts.
Peggy Jean & Patsy Eileen
What a way to close out the child-bearing with having twins! Loretta and Oliver welcomed twins Peggy Jean and Patsy Eileen on August 6, 1964. Patsy was named after her mother’s close friend and mentor, Patsy Cline. Patsy’s twin sister was named after her mother’s sister, Peggy Sue Wright.
The twins would go on to be the most successful of the children with their music careers. Peggy and Patsy received CMA Award nominations for Vocal Duo of the Year in 1998 and 1999.