As tributes to Loretta Lynn poured out on Tuesday (October 4), Carrie Underwood reminisced on the first time she met to country music trailblazer. Their first meeting happened at the legendary Grand Ole Opry at the beginning of the “Ghost Story” singer’s career, which she launched after her American Idol victory in 2005. That’s when Underwood lived out what became “one of my most favorite stories to tell.” She wrote in a heartfelt caption, sharing a photo of Lynn at the historic Ryman Auditorium:
“The first time I met Loretta Lynn was at the Grand Ole Opry at (the) beginning of my career. 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 favorite 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 continued. “Over the years, I have had the honor of singing for her…and also with her…in 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. I am truly grateful to have known such an amazing woman and artist.
“Thank you, Loretta, for showing us how it’s done,” Underwood concluded her tribute. “May you Rest In Peace in the arms of Jesus and add your heavenly voice to the angel choir. Love you!”
Lynn’s family confirmed in a statement that she passed away peacefully in her sleep on Tuesday morning. She was home, at her ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee. The family asked for privacy as they grieve their loss, and noted that a public announcement about a memorial would be made at a later time.
The heartbreaking news prompted tons of heartfelt tributes from fans and fellow country artists as they mourn the loss of one of the genre’s biggest legends. Wynonna Judd shared that Lynn “was like an aunt to me.” Likewise, Dolly Parton considered the “Coal Miner’s Daughter” star to be “my sister.” Chapel Hart was even working on a Lynn-inspired song. Tayla Lynn, one of Lynn’s granddaughters, also posted an emotional message. Others — including George Strait, Trisha Yearwood, Carly Pearce, LeAnn Rimes, Blake Shelton and many more — also shared tributes in Lynn’s memory. See Underwood’s tribute here: