Patsy Cline was one of the fastest rising stars in country music when her life was tragically cut short on March 5, 1963. The iconic country singer died in a plane crash while flying back to Nashville from a show in Kansas City, Kansas.

Cline scored her first hit, "Walkin' After Midnight," in 1957 after two years of releasing records that did not chart. She endured several more years of records that stiffed before she scored her second hit in 1961 with "I Fall to Pieces," which gave Cline her first No. 1 single in 1961.

The singer's career was nearly derailed by a terrible car crash that took place on June 14, 1961, when she and her brother Sam were involved in a head-on collision in Nashville that threw Cline into the windshield. Cline spent a month in the hospital after suffering injuries including a broken wrist, dislocated hip and a jagged cut across her forehead that required stitches. Determined to continue her career, Cline was back onstage at the Grand Ole Opry shortly afterward, performing on crutches, according to the PBS program American Masters.

Cline was still on crutches when she returned to the studio to record "Crazy," written by a young Nashville songwriter named Willie Nelson. The song reached No. 2, and she subsequently scored another No. 1 hit in "She's Got You." Cline landed two more hits in 1962 with "When I Get Thru With You" and "So Wrong," which turned out to be some of the final hits of her lifetime.

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Cline was killed instantly on March 5, 1963, when a small private plane she was traveling on while returning to Nashville crashed in a heavy downpour and limited visibility in Camden, Tenn., 90 miles outside of Music City. Cline had been in Kansas City to perform at a benefit for the family of DJ Jack "Cactus" Call, who had died in a car crash that January.

Cowboy Copas, Hawkshaw Hawkins and the pilot, Randy Hughes, also died instantly. Roger Miller and a friend searched for the wreckage the next morning, and ended up being among the first to find the plane and its passengers.

Cline released one final single, "Leavin' on Your Mind," in January of 1963 before her death in March. She scored hits with "Sweet Dreams" and "Faded Love" after her death, and her legend grew over the years, resulting in a long string of posthumous hits collections and live releases. Jessica Lange earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress in 1985 for her portrayal of Cline in the biopic Sweet Dreams.

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