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Mel Tillis, Country Music Hall of Famer, Dies at 85
20 November 2017, 02:08 | Conrad Doyle
Country Music Legend Mel Tillis Passes | Absolute Publicity
Country music legend and Tampa native Mel Tillis died Sunday at the age of 85, according to our affiliate WKRN.
Tillispassed away on 19 November 2017 in Munroe Regional Medical Center in Ocala, Florida.
Respiratory failure was the suspected cause, but the singer had suffered from intestinal issues since early 2016.
As a songwriter he knocked out 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").
His commercial peak came in the 1970s when he had a string of top 10 hits, including "Good Woman Blues", "Heart Healer" and "Coca Cola Cowboy".
Tillis, who famously stuttered when he spoke, but never when he sang, was named the Country Music Association's Entertainer of the Year.
The singer-songwriter had written over 60 albums through his career, having over 10 top 10 singles throughout his career.
In 2007, Tillis became a regular performer on the Grand Ole Opry country music show.
He also dabbled in acting, appearing in such feature films as Clint Eastwood's "Every Which Way But Loose", and the Burt Reynolds movies "Cannonball Run I and II" and "Smokey and the Bandit II".
Lonnie Melvin Tillis was born on August 8, 1932, near Tampa, Fla.
Tillis was raised in Pahokee, Florida, and developed his stutter as a child while being treated for malaria. Mel Tillis always put on a show ...
Tillis got his musical start in the 1950s performing with an Air Force band while stationed in Okinawa. "The more I go onstage", he said, "and feel my independence and that power over audiences, the less I stutter".
In February of 2012 President Obama awarded Tillis the National Medal of Arts. His family plans to announce funeral arrangements in Nashville and Florida soon.
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