Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
Legendary country singer Mel Tillis
has passed away. According to a statement from his publicist, Tillis died early Sunday morning (November 19) at the Munroe Regional Medical Center in Ocala, Florida. The singer battled intestinal issues since early 2016 and never fully recovered. The suspected cause of death is respiratory failure. Tillis was 85.
Mel Tillis was born in Tampa, Florida, on August 8, 1932. Over the course of his more than 6 decades-long music career he recorded more than 60 albums, had 35 Top Ten singles, 6 #1 hits (“I Ain’t Never,” “Coca-Cola Cowboy,” “Southern Rains,” “Good Woman Blues,” “Heart Healer,” and “I Believe In You”), and was named the CMA’s Entertainer of the Year in 1976. In 2007, Tillis was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Tillis was not only known as a vocalist but as an accomplished songwriter. More than 600 of his tunes 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”). Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI) named Tillis Songwriter of the Decade for two decades.
The Country Music Hall of Famer leaves behind six children (Pam Tillis, Connie Tillis, Cindy Shorey, Sonny Tillis, Carrie April Tillis, and Hannah Puryear), six grandchildren, a great grandson, a sister (Linda Crosby) and brother (Richard Tillis), the mother of five of his children (Doris Tillis), his longtime partner (Kathy DeMonaco), and many lifelong friends and fans around the world.
The Tillis family asks for your prayers and will soon release more information regarding funeral services in Florida and Nashville.
Our prayers are with Mel Tillis’s family during this time.