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Country music legend Loretta Lynn was beloved by millions. The "Coal Miner's Daughter" from the hills of eastern Kentucky, whose music career spanned nearly five decades, passed away "peacefully" in her sleep Tuesday morning at her ranch home in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee. She was 90.
Despite all of her success on the country music scene and all of her awards as a singer and songwriter, there was one thing she held more dearly than anything else—her relationship with Christ.
"My faith means a lot to me," Lynn said earlier this year in an Instagram post. "If it wasn't for God, none of us would be here. Jesus is my friend. I keep hold of His hand and I don't let loose. If I ever let loose, well, I hope He grabs me because I'll be lost."
Lynn, who first broke into country music in the early 1960s with her song, "Honky Tonk Girl," was the first woman ever to be named 'Entertainer of the Year' at country music's two major award shows—the Country Music Association in 1972 and then by the Academy of Country Music in 1975.
The country music hall of famer's biggest hit was her autobiographical song "Coal Miner's Daughter" in 1969. Her other big hits included "You Ain't Woman Enough," "The Pill," "Don't Come Home a Drinkin' (With Lovin' on Your Mind), and "You're Looking at Country."
Lynn was the subject of an autobiographic movie in 1980 appropriately titled "Coal Miner's Daughter," starring Sissy Spacek and Tommy Lee Jones, who portrayed her husband Doolittle.
Last Easter, she shared on Instagram just what her faith meant to her.
"When I think about Easter, I think about the incredible beauty of real love," Lynn said. "Love that gives when it doesn't have to. Love that gives even when it doesn't receive. That's what Christ did for us. I think of hope and redemption and forgiveness. There aren't words to share how thankful for all God has done for me."
Including dying for her—and everyone else's—sins.
"Oh my, it hurts," she said. "I won't be able to tell Him how much I appreciate what He did. There's no way you can repay Jesus for what He done. There's just no way. You just have to show Him and much you love Him, and I think that's the way we all have to repay Him. It's in your actions."
Lynn's death brought reactions of sadness from many within the country music industry.
"Mama and Loretta Lynn were four years apart, Mama being the oldest," Reba McEntire said on Instagram. "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!"
"So sorry to hear about my sister, friend Loretta. We've been like sisters all these 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," Dolly Parton, also a devoted Christian, tweeted. "I miss her dearly as we all will."
"She was an iconic legend and did things the way she wanted," Darius Rucker tweeted. "I was so blessed to call her friend. I miss u already Loretta. Love u. And rest now u angel."
In 2013, President Barack Obama presented Lynn with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Shawn A. Akers is the online editor for Charisma Media.
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