Country music singer Mel Tillis dies at 85

20 November, 2017, 02:08 | Author: Ruben Patrick
  • Country music legend dead: Mel Tillis dies at 85 following health battle

He wrote over 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").

In 2007, Tillis became a regular performer on the Grand Ole Opry country music show.

The country legend died of suspected respiratory failure at the Munroe Regional Medical Center in Ocala, Florida, publicist Don Murry Grubbs said in a statement.

Billed solo or with his band, the Statesiders, Tillis had six No. 1 country singles, including "Coca-Cola Cowboy", which appeared on the soundtrack to the 1978 Clint Eastwood movie, "Every Which Way but Loose".

The singer-songwriter had written over 60 albums through his career, having over 10 top 10 singles throughout his career.

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Born Lonnie Melvin Tillis in Tampa, Florida in 1932, Tillis caught malaria as a child, leaving him with a speech impediment for which he was mocked in his youth but which he embraced as an adult, incorporating it into his performances for comic effect.

Tillis went on to be named Entertainer of the Year by the Country Music Association in 1976 and later that year was welcomed into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Tillis had undergone colon surgery in January 2016 and canceled a scheduled trip on the Country Music Cruise. Mel Tillis always put on a show.... He joined the US Air Force to serve in the Korean War and was stationed in Okinawa, where he spent his time cooking and singing on Armed Forces Radio.

"I'm just so thankful, for everything", he said when he was inducted.

The Tillis family asks for your prayers and will soon release more information regarding funeral services in Florida and Nashville. President Barack Obama bestowed the National Medal of Arts award upon Tillis in 2012.

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