Longtime country singer, songwriter Mel Tillis dies

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

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

A spokesperson for Mel Tillis says he died early Sunday morning in Florida.

Respiratory failure was the suspected cause, but the singer had suffered from intestinal issues since early 2016.

During the 1960s, Tillis' songs charted for several artists, with hits like "Ruby (Don't Take Your Love to Town)", "Mental Revenge" and "Detroit City", becoming classics, the Tennessean reported.

Throughout the singer's 60 plus year career, the Grand Ole Opry member recorded more than 60 albums, had 35 Top Ten singles, scorred six #1 hits ("I Ain't Never", "Coca-Cola Cowboy", "Southern Rains", "Good Woman Blues", "Heart Healer", and "I Believe In You").

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. Mel Tillis always put on a show ...

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In 2007, Tillis was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry Hall of Fame by his daughter, singer Pam Tillis.

Lonnie Melvin Tillis was born on August 8, 1932, near Tampa, Fla. Tillis has six children.

Tillis began recording in the late 1950s and continued to perform through 2015, but remained best known for a string of No. 1 country hits in the late '70s, along with a succession of appearances in Hollywood movies alongside Burt Reynolds and Clint Eastwood that helped make him a household name even outside the country music sphere.

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.

"I couldn't get out the word 'halt, '" he said. He was also recognized by President Barack Obama in 2012, receiving the National Medal of Arts for his country music contributions. His family plans to announce funeral arrangements in Nashville and Florida soon.

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