In mid-October, Merle Haggard gave his final Grand Ole Opry performance -- and it was a surprise.

On Oct. 17, 2015, Haggard helped celebrate the Opry's 90th anniversary with an unexpected set that included "Big City," "Silver Wings," "The Fightin' Side of Me" and "I Think I'll Just Stay Here and Drink." Press play on the video above to watch the country icon sing the latter tune, which was released on Oct. 25, 1980.

Although Haggard gave performances at the Grand Ole Opry, he was never inducted as a full member. He was, however, a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, inducted in 1994, as well as the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, inducted in 1977. Throughout his lifetime, he also received Entertainer of the Year, numerous Grammy Awards, a Kennedy Center Honor, the Crystal Milestone Award and countless other honors.

Following a bout of pneumonia, Haggard died on Wednesday (April 6), his 79th birthday.

“He loved everything about life, and he loved that every one of you gave him a chance with his music,” his son Ben writes. “He wasn’t just a country singer … He was the best country singer that ever lived.”

Remembering Merle Haggard