Mel TIllis performs at the Riverfront Stage during the 2012 CMA Music Festival on June 9, 2012, in Nashville, Tennessee.Amy Harris / Amy Harris/Invision/AP
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Mel Tillis, the affable longtime country star who wrote hits because that Kenny Rogers, Ricky Skaggs and many others, and overcame a stutter to song on dozens the his very own singles, has actually died.
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A spokesman because that Tillis, Don Murry Grubbs, said Tillis died early Sunday at Munroe regional Medical facility in Ocala, Florida. He to be 85.
Grubbs said Tillis dealt with intestinal issues since 2016 and never completely recovered. The suspected cause of death is respiratory tract failure.
Mel TIllis performs in ~ the Riverfront Stage during the 2012 CMA Music Festival on June 9, 2012, in Nashville, Tennessee.Amy Harris / Amy Harris/Invision/AP
Tillis, the dad of country singer Pam Tillis, recorded much more than 60 albums and also had much more than 30 top 10 country singles, consisting of "Good woman Blues," ""Coca Cola Cowboy" and "Southern Rain." amongst the hits he created for others were "Detroit City" for Bobby Bare; "Ruby, Don"t Take her Love come Town," by Rogers and the first Edition; and also "Thoughts that a Fool" for George Strait.
Country music stars Charlie Daniels, decision Gayle and also Blake Shelton available their condolences on Twitter.
"He once spent whole day at his location in Tennessee showing me every the memorabilia he"d gathered over the years where he gave me a pair the his phase boots," Shelton"s account said. "He even took time to talk me v some tough times in my life on a pair phone calls."
Although his early efforts to get a record deal were rebuffed since of his stutter, he to be a promise songwriter in Nashville in the 1950s and also 1960s, writing tunes because that Webb Pierce and also Ray Price.
In all, the nation Music room of fame member wrote an ext than 1,000 songs and also in 2012 obtained a national Medal the Arts for bringing "his distinct blend the warmth and humor come the an excellent tradition of country music."
He also dabbled in acting, appearing in such feature films together Clint Eastwood"s "Every Which means But Loose," and the Burt Reynolds movies "Cannonball run I and II" and also "Smokey and the Bandit II." he starred in numerous television movies and briefly had a network TV show, "Mel and also Susan Together," v Susan Anton.
In 2007, Tillis came to be a regular performer top top the grand Ole Opry nation music show.
"You know what? Another component of the dream has actually been fulfilled," he said at the time. "It"s to be a long, difficult road."
Tillis was raised in Pahokee, Florida, and developed his stutter as a son while being treated for malaria. The dropped the end of the university of Florida and also instead served in the air Force and worked ~ above the railroad prior to relocating to Nashville in 1957.
Musical from very early age, he started performing in the at an early stage 1950s with a group called The Westerners, when stationed in Okinawa and also serving as a baker in the wait Force.
He hosted a selection of strange jobs prior to breaking out, including being a truck driver, a strawberry picker, a firefighter top top the railroad and also milkman, which motivated his breakthrough song. Feeling down at some point he started singing to himself, "Oh Lord, I"m tired. Worn down of life this ol" way." that turned his lament right into "I"m Tired," which came to be a hit because that Webb Pierce.
Price, Skaggs, Brenda Lee and also hundreds of others would cover his songs.
Tillis, meanwhile, became a significant success on his own in the so late 1960s and also toured for decades, regularly using his stutter as a resource of humor — though his stutter disappeared when he sang.
"One that the factors I operated it into my show is that it"s my trademark," he once told The connected Press.
He said that when he was in the Air pressure as a trip leader, that marched airmen right into a wall.
"I couldn"t acquire out the word "halt,"" he said.
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Grubbs says the Tillis household will release information about funeral services in Florida and also Nashville.