"Tillis battled intestinal issues since early 2016 and never fully recovered", he said. In October 2007, he became a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame. He wrote some of country music's most compelling and consequential songs, he fronted a remarkable band, and he sang with power and emotion. In 2007, Tillis was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry, as well as the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Nashville, Tenn. (November 19, 2017) - Following a lengthy struggle to regain his health, country music legend Mel Tillis passed away early this morning at the Munroe Regional Medical Center in Ocala, Florida.
Lonnie Melvin Tillis was born in Tampa, Florida on August 8, 1932. He was also recognized by President Barack Obama in 2012, receiving the National Medal of Arts for his country music contributions. According to his website, his career launched in 1956 when Webb Pierce recorded a song written by Tillis. Among the hits he wrote for others were "Detroit City" for Bobby Bare; "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town", by Rogers and the First Edition; and "Thoughts of a Fool" for George Strait.
Tillis recorded over 60 albums during his six decade music career, and had over 30 top 10 hits on the country charts with "Good Woman Blues", "Coca Cola Cowboy" and "Southern Rain".
The former Air Force baker - who had his heyday in the 1970s - also dipped into film and television, appearing on shows such as "Hee Haw" and movies including "Smokey and the Bandit II" (1980) and "Every Which Way but Loose" (1978), alongside Clint Eastwood. He also made a TV appearance in an episode of "The Dukes of Hazzard" in the late '70s.