In 2005, Jean Shepard became the first female singer to reach 50 years as a Grand Ole Opry member, according to the Opry's website.
Shepard was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2011 as she continued to perform regularly on the Grand Ole Opry.
In 1963, her husband, country singer Hawkshaw Hawkins, was killed in a plane crash along with country singers Patsy Cline and Cowboy Copas. In 1968 she married musician Benny Birchfield.
Shepard was in hospice at the time of her death. Wikipedia says she had Parkinson's Disease.