Loretta Lynn, country music icon, has died at 90

Loretta Lynn, who rose from a hardscrabble upbringing to become the most culturally significant female singer-songwriter in country music history, died Tuesday at age 90.

“Our precious mom, Loretta Lynn, passed away peacefully this morning, Oct. 4, in her sleep at home at her beloved ranch in Hurricane Mills," her family said in a statement to The Tennessean.

Many of Lynn’s songs are filled with specifics of her wholly unique life, yet they had a universal appeal.

She wrote about intimate matters — from her difficult, wearying childhood to fights with her husband — yet managed to strike a collective nerve.

And, without ever mentioning politics or women’s liberation, her songs helped to change long-held notions about gender roles.

“Rated ‘X’ ” and “Don’t Come Home A’Drinkin (With Lovin’ on Your Mind)” were personal pleas — not political treatises — that sought an end to double standards.

Lynn did all this at a time when women were most often the voices through which men’s words and melodies were heard.

She was Nashville’s first prominent woman to write and record her own material, and was one of the first female music stars to generate her own hits.