Mike Bedigan, PA Los Angeles Correspondent
Carrie Underwood has fondly remembered Loretta Lynn as a “cantankerous little pistol” and an “irreplaceable” talent, following the singer’s death aged 90.
The US country singer said she was “truly grateful” to have known Lynn as she shared memories of their performances together.
Heavyweights from across the industry including Dolly Parton, Pat Boone, and Billy Ray Cyrus were among others paying tribute to one of the “first ladies of country music”, who died on Tuesday.
Lynn was known for her songwriting about sex and love, cheating husbands, divorce and birth control and some of her biggest hit songs included Coal Miner’s Daughter, You Ain’t Woman Enough and The Pill.
“The first time I met Loretta Lynn was at the Grand Ole Opry at the beginning of my career,” Underwood recalled, in a lengthy post on Instagram.
“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.
“This is one of my most favourite 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.”
Underwood added that she had had the honour of singing with Lynn, which had been “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,” she wrote.
“I am truly grateful to have known such an amazing woman and artist.”
Veteran country singer Parton said she considered Lynn her sister and that she would “dearly” miss her.
In a post on Instagram, she wrote: “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.
Loretta Lynn is an American institution, a beautiful example of rising from poor circumstances on sheer pluck and talent to become one of the first ladies of country music - and she'll never be forgotten. pic.twitter.com/kwHTiidNJ8
— ThePatBoone (@Pat_Boone) October 5, 2022
“I miss her dearly as we all will. May she rest in peace”.
Boone, who performed with Elvis Presley during his own lengthy career, said Lynn would “never be forgotten”.
“Loretta Lynn is an American institution, a beautiful example of rising from poor circumstances on sheer pluck and talent to become one of the first ladies of country music – and she’ll never be forgotten,” he wrote on Twitter.
Ray Cyrus shared a photo of his copy of her 2004 studio album Van Lear Rose which she had autographed for him.
He said: “Celebrating the life of Loretta Lynn. One of my highest honours was being joined by her and George Jones on a song I wrote called ‘Country Music Has The Blues’.
“She handed me this wonderful gift on that day. #lorettalynn.”
US singer Carole King described Lynn as an inspiration as she posted a photo of the singer smiling while sitting by a piano on Twitter.
Country music singer George Strait shared a sweet photo on Twitter of him embracing Lynn as he hailed her as “unbelievably talented”.
He said: “We’re sure going to miss @LorettaLynn. What an amazing woman and so unbelievably talented.
“Very thankful she shared that with all of us fans. God bless all of the family. Rest in Peace Loretta. See you down the road.”
She was an inspiration.
R.I.P. Loretta Lynn ❤️ pic.twitter.com/VqwmkcOAqy
— Carole King (@Carole_King) October 4, 2022
US singer Marie Osmond said “goodbye to another dear friend” as she also posted a throwback photo with Lynn.
She added: “She was the reason that I fell in love with #countrymusic. When I was 13, she said to me, ‘Never stop singing!’
“Heaven definitely received a true angel in this ‘Honky Tonk Girl’! #RIP #icon #lorettalynn”.
The family of the American country singer shared a statement on Twitter announcing that she had died “peacefully” in her sleep on Tuesday, at her home in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee.
A statement from the family of Loretta Lynn.
"Our precious mom, Loretta Lynn, passed away peacefully this morning, October 4th, in her sleep at home at her beloved ranch in Hurricane Mills.” The family of Loretta Lynn.
— Loretta Lynn (@LorettaLynn) October 4, 2022
Further to her singing success, Lynn found further fame after the release of the 1980 musical film Coal Miner’s Daughter, based on Lynn’s 1976 biography of the same name.
Actress Sissy Spacek’s portrayal of Lynn won her an Oscar and the film was also nominated for best picture.
Lynn launched her career in the early 1960s and her songs often reflected her pride in her rural Kentucky background.
The Governor of Kentucky, Andy Beshear, also paid tribute on Twitter, saying: “Today, all of Kentucky mourns the loss of our very own Loretta Lynn.
“She was a legend who blazed a trail in country music while telling the stories of Appalachia and Kentucky.
“She will be greatly missed, but her words and impact will live on forever.”
Floral tributes to Lynn were also placed on Lynn’s star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame, in Los Angeles, on Wednesday following news of her death.