Mel Tillis, the affable longtime country star who wrote hits for Kenny Rogers, Ricky Skaggs and many others, and overcame a stutter to sing on dozens of his own singles, has died.
In a press release from Absolute Publicity, Tillis' publicist Don Murry Grubbs confirmed that Tillis died at the Munroe Regional Medical Center in Ocala, Florida after battling an intestinal issue since 2016. The suspected cause of death was respiratory failure.
His other No. 1 hits were "I Ain't Never" in 1972, "Good Woman Blues" in 1976, "Heart Healer" in 1976, "I Believe in You" in 1978.
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 had written over 60 albums and had more than 10 top 10 singles during his 1970s hey day. Mel Tillis always put on a show....More news: 3 killed, 20 missing in Andhra boat accident
Tillis was born in Tampa on August 8, 1932, according to his biography on the Country Music Hall of Fame website. Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI) named Tillis Songwriter of the Decade for two decades.
Lonnie Melvin Tillis was born in Tampa, Fla. on August 8, 1932. Tillis has six children.
Tillis got his musical start in the 1950s performing with an Air Force band while stationed in Okinawa.
"I was so bashful and scared", he said in 2002 of his hesitancy about speaking in public, "and she said, 'If they laugh they'll be laughing with you, not against you'". President Barack Obama bestowed the National Medal of Arts award upon Tillis in 2012.
During the height of his career, Tillis hosted a short-lived ABC variety show with model Susan Anton and made cameo appearances in several popular movies, including The Cannonball Run, Cannonball Run II, Smokey and the Bandit II and Every Which Way But Loose, which featured Coca-Cola Cowboy on its soundtrack.