NASHVILLE, Tenn. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Country music giant Merle Haggard, who celebrated outlaws, underdogs and an abiding sense of national pride in such hits as “Okie From Muskogee” and “Sing Me Back Home,” died on his birthday Wednesday. He was 79.

Haggard’s manager, Frank Mull, said the country icon died in Palo Cedro, California, of pneumonia.

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A masterful guitarist, fiddler and songwriter as well as singer, the Country Music Hall of Famer recorded for more than 40 years, releasing dozens of albums and No. 1 hits.

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