“Her notable professional contributions are part of the CBS Archives, but it is her magnificent human spirit that touched so many of us, that will stay with us forever,” said Ingrid Ciprian-Matthews, EVP of Strategic Professional Development at CBS News. Merrill was best known for writing the iconic track “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll.” He originally wrote and recorded the hit song while he was a member of the band the Arrows, who released the track in 1975. The song would later become a huge hit for Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, who topped the charts with the tune in 1982.
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“The Coronavirus took my father this morning,” she wrote. “I was given 2 minutes to say my goodbyes before I was rushed out. … By the time I got in the doors to my apartment I received the news that he was gone.” She urged that everyone take social distancing protocols seriously. “If anything can come of this I beg of you to take this seriously. Money doesn’t matter. People are dying,” she wrote. According to a statement from the Grand Ole Opry, where Howard was inducted in March 1971, the singer “passed away peacefully” in Gallatin, Tennessee. “Jan Howard was a force of nature in country music, at the Opry, and in life,” said Grand Ole Opry Vice President and Executive Producer Dan Rogers.