Alan Jackson's mother, known affectionately to her loved ones and to country music fans as "Mama Ruth," has died. A press release reports that she passed away on Saturday morning (Jan. 7), at her home in Newnan, Ga., at the age of 86.

Born on April 2, 1930, in Lowell, Ga., Ruth Jackson married Alan Jackson's father, Joseph Eugene "Daddy Gene" Jackson, in 1946. Together, they had five children: four daughters, Diane, Cathy, Carol and Connie, and a son, Alan; the children grew up in a home that had been built around their grandfather's toolshed -- a home that Alan Jackson sang about in his 1996 single "Home."

“My mama raised five children: four girls, and there was me / She found her strength in faith in God and a love of family," Jackson sings in that song. "She never had a social life; home was all she knew / Except the time she took a job to pay a bill or two."

Ruth Jackson lived in that same house for 70 years, right up until her death. She also continued to influence her son's musical career: Alan Jackson's second Christmas album, Let It Be, was inspired by a request from his mother, and his Precious Memories gospel albums began as a Mother's Day gift to her.

Occasionally, Ruth Jackson accompanied her son to industry events, and she became well known by his fans. She was known to invite those who stopped to see her son's childhood home to take photos on the front porch, or even to offer them something to drink.

Ruth Jackson is survived by her five children, as well as 12 grandchildren (including Alan Jackson's three daughters, Dani, Mattie and Alexandra) and nine great-grandchildren. Her husband passed away in 2000.

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