Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson taping the “Inside Arlyn” pilot at Arlyn Studios in November 2014. Photo by Gary Miller/courtesy of Arlyn Studios

“He was my brother. My friend. I will miss him.” That was the short but sweet statement from Willie Nelson, via his publicist, regarding the news that Merle Haggard died on Wednesday, his 79th birthday,

Longtime friends, Nelson and Haggard had spent quite a bit of time together in the past couple of years. Haggard’s last Austin performance came at Willie’s July Fourth Picnic at the Austin 360 Amphitheater last year. The appearance came shortly after the release of “Django and Jimmie,” a Haggard/Nelson collaborative album that topped the country charts upon its release in June 2015.

In the fall of 2014, the two also taped an as-yet unaired pilot episode of the prospective TV show “Inside Arlyn,” recorded at Austin’s Arlyn Studios.