Country music Hall of Famer Mel Tillis dead at 85

Nov 20, 2017, 02:10
Country music Hall of Famer Mel Tillis dead at 85

The star also won the Country Music Association's Entertainer of the Year and was inducted in Nashville Songwriters' Hall of Fame.

A spokesman for Tillis, Don Murry Grubbs, said Tillis died early Sunday at Munroe Regional Medical Center in Ocala, Florida. According to a statement made by his publicist, the musician battled intestinal issues and reportedly suffered respiratory failure.

Tillis wrote more than 1,000 songs, 600 of which have been recorded by major artists including Kenny Rogers ("Ruby, Don't You Take Your Love To Town"), George Strait ("Thoughts Of A Fool") and Ricky Skaggs ("Honey, Open That Door").

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Under his own name, he cut six singles that topped the country charts, including "I Ain't Never", "Coca-Cola Cowboy" and "Southern Rains".

In his six-decade career, the singer recorded more than 60 albums, had three dozen Top 10 singles and wrote several hit songs that are now regarded as classics, the Tennessean reported. Tillis has six children.

"He once spent an entire day at his place in Tennessee showing me all the memorabilia he'd gathered over the years where he gave me a pair of his stage boots", Shelton's account said.

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8, 1932, in Tampa, Tillis went on to become a prolific artist and a Country Music Hall of Famer.

Tributes from fellow country music stars poured in on social media, with musician and "The Voice" judge Blake Shelton describing Tillis' death as "a truly devastating loss". Mel Tillis always put on a show....

He joined the U.S. Air Force and was stationed as a baker in Okinawa, where he formed a band called the Westerners.

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"I couldn't get out the word 'halt, '" he said. His family plans to announce funeral arrangements in Nashville and Florida soon. Four years later, he received the National Medal of Arts for his contributions to country music during a White House ceremony.

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