The year begins on a sad note with the news of a death in the "Hee Haw" family Youtube screenshot/Oklahoma Historical Society
Youtube screenshot/Oklahoma Historical Society

Death is sadly just a part of life. Yet, it still hurts.

And, the country music community is hurting today as multiple reports are surfacing that Sam Lovullo, a dynamic member of the “Hee Haw” franchise, passed away Jan. 3 in his California home.

Sam was 88.

RELATED: This rare footage of George Strait performing on “Hee Haw” is making our hearts melt

While most country music fans might not recall his name, nearly all of them will recall his work. Sam served as the producer and casting director of the much-loved “Hee Haw” franchise that ran on CBS from 1969 to 1971, and then lived on in syndication until 1992.

His many contributions to the country music landscape were recognized throughout the years by the country music community via accolades from everyone from the Country Music Association to the Gospel Music Association and the Academy of Country Music. He also did an extensive interview with the Oklahoma Historical Society in 2015 about his “Hee Haw” history.

RELATED: Who remembers Hee Haw? Relive these top moments from the golden age of country music

Sam’s death comes just weeks after the death of “Hee Haw” comedic fixture Gordie Tapp, who was best known as Cousin Clem and passed away on Dec. 18 in Canada.

We share our heartfelt condolences to Sam’s family, friends and to all those who were touched by his life and work.

Rare remembers the people we lost in 2016

Tricia Despres is a senior correspondent for Rare Country, based out of Chicago. Join the conversation on Twitter at @RareCountry. We would love to see y’all there.
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