1:20 PM PT -- The Chicks just addressed Laura's death, writing ... "We are shocked and saddened to learn of the passing of Laura Lynch, a founding member of The Chicks. We hold a special place in our hearts for the time we spent playing music, laughing and traveling together. Laura was a bright light…her infectious energy and humor gave a spark to the early days of our band. 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."
They add, "Our thoughts are with her family and loved ones at this sad time."
11:42 AM PT -- The Texas Dept. of Public Safety has confirmed Lynch's death, and the details thus far about how she died are absolutely tragic. Law enforcement says their preliminary investigation shows that Laura was heading east on Highway 62, and that another car heading west attempted to pass another vehicle in front of it on a two-way undivided portion of the highway.
As that car tried going around, it ended up hitting Laura's vehicle head-on... and killed her. The driver of the other vehicle was transported to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Laura was declared dead at the scene ... and a full probe has been launched.
Laura Lynch, a founding member of The Dixie Chicks, has died after being involved in a car crash ... TMZ has learned.
The musician's cousin, Mick Lynch, tells us Laura passed away Friday outside of El Paso, TX just after sunset while driving from there to nearby Dell City -- which is about an hour and a half away going east. We're told she was traveling on a highway and got into a collision.
No other details about the exact circumstances of the accident were immediately available.
Lynch co-founded the famous music group -- now known just as The Chicks -- alongside Robin Lynn Macy, Martie Erwin and Emily Erwin backin 1989 ... serving as the upright bassist and eventually taking on the role of lead vocalist for the band.
At first, they had a bluegrass/traditional country sound ... and toward the beginning of their career, they were mostly a local Texas act that toured the area and surrounding states.
Eventually, they released their first album, "Thank Heavens for Dale Evans," in 1990 ... which didn't produce any charting singles. Ditto for their 2nd album, "Little Ol' Cowgirl," from 1992 -- although that one featured a song that got covered and got some play, "Past the Point of Rescue." It was during this period that another OG member, Robin Lynn Macy, exited.
Come '93, it was just 3 Dixie Chicks and they released yet another album, "Shouldn't a Told You That," which didn't receive much commercial success either. This was the last album Lynch contributed to before leaving the band in '95 ... when Natalie Maines replaced her.
There are different reasons cited for why Lynch left ... but it appears she was heading in a different direction big picture -- wanting to focus on family and personal matters. At any rate, in interviews since -- LL expressed no regrets about her decision, and went on to live a relatively private life. Of course, in the following years ... the Dixie Chicks caught fire.
With Maines, the sound of the band changed to become a bit more modern ... and Maines took up lead vocal duties -- with sisters Martie Maguire and Emily Strayer staying on too. They broke through into the mainstream in '98 with "Wide Open Spaces," and took off.
Of course, the Dixie Chicks were at the center of a lot of controversy heading into the 2000s -- including their remarks on George W. Bush and the Iraq War -- and eventually ... they changed their band name too due to the racist southern undertones affiliated with the OG.
As for Laura, she married Mac Tull and had a daughter, both of whom she's survived by. She was 65.