Laura Lynch, one of the founding members of country group The Chicks, has died aged 65.

According to a statement from the Texas public safety department that was reported by the TV news station KTSM, Lynch was killed in a crash while driving a pickup truck outside El Paso on Friday night (December 22). She was struck head-on by the driver of another truck who was trying to pass another car along a two-way, undivided portion of the highway.

Lynch co-founded the group, then known as the Dixie Chicks, in 1989 alongside – alongside Robin Lynn Macy, Martie Erwin and Emily Erwin. She played upright bass and sang on the band’s first three albums, 1990’s ‘Thank Heavens For Dale Evans’, 1992’s ‘Little Ol’ Cowgirl’ and 1993’s ‘Shouldn’t a Told You That’. She was later replaced by Natalie Maines.

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The Chicks said in a statement posted to X that they were “shocked and saddened” by the news of Lynch’s death.

“Laura was a bright light … her infectious energy and humor gave a spark to the early days of our band,” they wrote. “Laura had a gift for design, a love of all things Texas and was instrumental in the early success of the band.

“Her undeniable talents helped propel us beyond busking on street corners to stages all across Texas and the mid-West. Our thoughts are with her family and loved ones at this sad time.”

The Chicks changed their name in 2020 following the wave of Black Lives Matter protests in the wake of the murder of George Floyd.

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Jeremy Helligar wrote for Variety that the word ‘Dixie’ has connotations anchored in the slavery era of America, saying, “‘Dixie,’ for the record, is the epitome of white America, a celebration of a Southern tradition that is indivisible from Black slaves and those grand plantations where they were forced to toil for free.”

The Chicks also embarked on a world arena tour earlier this year, which included their first UK shows for seven years.

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