The Academy of Country Music is paying special tribute to country legend Merle Haggard. At the 2016 ACM Honors, a new award will be given in honor of the iconic late singer: the ACM Merle Haggard Spirit Award.

The ACM Merle Haggard Spirit Award will honor the contributions of Haggard, one of country music's most prolific performers, by acknowledging artists who exemplify his uncompromising integrity and "singular vision in carving an indelible path in country music," according to an official press release.

"Merle passed shortly after our 2016 awards show and after this year's Special Awards were announced," says ACM Board President Ken Tucker. "That said, there was simply no way the Academy could hold what may be its most heartfelt event -- ACM Honors -- without creating a lasting way to acknowledge his legacy. Celebrating and encouraging artists whose work echoes Merle Haggard's indomitable spirit is beyond fitting. On behalf of the board, and with the blessing of his family, we are thrilled to create this important honor."

Haggard was certainly no stranger to the ACM and their yearly awards show: The "Okie From Muskogee" singer was the very first person to win Entertainer of the Year in 1970, which was followed by 20 other ACM honors, as well as the ACM Cliffe Stone Pioneer Award and the Poet's Award.

The recipient of the first-ever ACM Merle Haggard Spirit Award has not been announced yet, but fans won't have to wait long to find out: The 2016 ACM Honors ceremony -- an evening celebrating the special honorees and off-camera category winners from the ACM Awards, which took place this year in April of 2016 -- will take place on Aug. 30 at Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium, and the show will be produced for television by Dick Clark Productions and broadcast on CBS on Sept. 9 at 9PM ET. This year's ceremony, the 10th annual, will be hosted by Lady Antebellum.

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