The country music world is in mourning today after legendary singer Mel Tillis passed away. He was 85 years-old.
Daily Mail reported that Tillis passed away early Sunday morning, and the suspected cause is respiratory failure. He had been fighting an intestinal issue since 2016.
During his career, Tillis recorded more than 60 albums and notched three dozen top 10 singles despite a stutter that didn’t affect his singing voice. His biggest hits included “I Ain’t Never,” “Good Woman Blues,” and “Coca-Cola Cowboy.” He also wrote songs for artists like Kenny Rogers and Randy Travis.
Tillis had a speech impediment that developed after a childhood bout of malaria and while he was teased when he was young he later used it to comedic effect on stage and screen. Tillis was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in October 2007, just four months after joining the Grand Ole Opry.
He also appeared in movies like Every Which Way But Loose with Clint Eastwood and W.W. & The Dixie Dancekings, Cannonball Run I and II, and Smokey and the Bandit II with Burt Reynolds. He is survived by six children: songwriter Mel (Sonny) Tillis Jr., singer-songwriter Pam Tillis, Carrie April Tillis, Connie Tillis, Cindy Tillis and Hannah Tillis.
Rest in peace, Mel Tillis!