Country Music Hall of Famer Mel Tillis dies at 85

Country music legend dead: Mel Tillis dies at 85 following health battle

Nashville, Tenn. (November 19, 2017) - Following a lengthy struggle to regain his health, country music legend Mel Tillis passed away early this morning at the Munroe Regional Medical Center in Ocala, Florida. The Country Music Hall of Famer had battled intestinal issues ever since he was hospitalized in 2016 after undergoing colon surgery, and he never fully recovered.

The singer-songwriter's publicist Don Murry Grubbs confirmed the tragic news, with his suspected cause of death believed to be respiratory failure.

Tillis, a father of 6 whose stammer and self-deprecating charm endeared him to fans, recorded more than 60 albums, scored 35 top 10 singles, and saw 600 of his songs recorded by major artists during a career spanning six decades.

In 2012, President Obama awarded Tillis the National Medal of Arts.

The heroic American joined the US Air Force to serve in the Korean War and was stationed in Okinawa, where he served the country by cooking and singing on Armed Forces Radio.

"Mel Tillis was a guy who had it all: He could write, he could sing and he could entertain an audience", Grand Ole Opry announcer and WSM DJ Eddie Stubbs told The Tennessean.

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Mel Tillis was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2007.

Lonnie Melvin Tillis was born in Tampa, Florida on August 8, 1932.

Among hits he wrote for others were "Detroit City" for Bobby Bare, and "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town", by Rogers and the First Edition.

He penned the song Coca Cola Cowboy for Clint Eastwood flick Every Which Way but Loose.

The Tillis family said they plan to announce funeral arrangements for Nashville and Florida soon.

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