Celebrated country songwriter Red Lane has passed away after a battle with cancer. He was 76 years old.

Nashville's Tennessean newspaper reports that Lane died on Wednesday night (July 1) near Music City.

Born Hollis Rudolph DeLaughter on Feb. 9, 1939, in Louisiana, Lane was the son of sharecroppers who moved around frequently. He began to play music as a child, learning on a guitar his father got by trading a .22 rifle for it. Lane graduated from high school in Indiana and enlisted in the Air Force, where he began performing in nightclubs and talent competitions. He took the stage name Red Lane because some of his ranking officers were not happy with servicemen performing in clubs.

After leaving the Air Force, Lane bounced around between Phoenix, Southern California and Indiana and began writing his own songs, inspired by Willie Nelson. In 1963 he met country artist Justin Tubb, who encouraged him to move to Nashville and subsequently hired him as his guitarist.

Lane signed a song publishing deal in 1964, and later that year, Faron Young scored a No. 11 hit with "My Friend on the Right," a song he and Lane co-wrote. He also worked with Dottie West, who scored a No. 15 hit with "Country Girl," which they co-wrote. Lane had his own recording career in the 1970s, charting at No. 32 with "The World Needs a Melody," but was undoubtedly best-known for songs he wrote for other artists, including Nelson, John Conlee, Waylon Jennings, Vern Gosdin, Keith Whitley and many more. Among his best known songs was the Tammy Wynette hit "'Til I Get It Right."

The versatile musician was also an in-demand session musician, playing on records by Nelson, Jennings, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown and Bobby Bare. He would also tour with Haggard, who went on to record more than two dozen of Lane's songs.

Apart from songwriting, aviation was Lane's other great passion. He lived in a converted airplane and was an avid skydiver, drawing on that experience for the Roger Miller song, "The Day I Jumped From Uncle Harvey's Plane."

Lane was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1993. Funeral arrangements have not been announced.

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