Arts&Culture

Blake Shelton Mourns Mel Tillis: 'I Will Miss Him Terribly'

Blake Shelton Mourns Mel Tillis: 'I Will Miss Him Terribly'”

A spokesperson for Mel Tillis says he died early Sunday morning in Florida. The cause of death is believed to be respiratory failure.

A member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Grand Ole Opry, Tillis recorded more than 60 albums and penned a string of hits for stars such as Kenny Rogers, George Strait and Ricky Skaggs. Over the course of his long career, he wrote more than 1,000 songs, recorded more than 60 albums, had almost three dozen top-10 singles, and pegged six No. 1 hits, including "Coca-Cola Cowboy", "I Ain't Never", and "I Believe in You".

The Country Music Association named Tillis Entertainer of the Year in 1976, the Tennessean reported, and he was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame that same year.

Tillis was raised in Pahokee, Florida, and developed his stutter as a child while being treated for malaria.

Tillis had undergone colon surgery in January 2016 and canceled a scheduled trip on the Country Music Cruise. He starred in several television movies and briefly had a network TV show, "Mel and Susan Together", with Susan Anton.

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Additionally, Tillis had other hits such as Stateside, I Got the Hoss, Send Me Down to Tucson, Neon Rose, Sawmill and Midnight, Me and the Blues.

He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in October 2007, just four months after joining the Grand Ole Opry. He started performing in the early 50s with a group called The Westerners.

"I was so bashful and scared", he said in 2002 of his hesitancy about speaking in public, "and she said, 'If they laugh they'll be laughing with you, not against you'". He also appeared in films such as "Cannonball Run" and "Smokey and the Bandit".

In February of 2012 President Obama awarded Tillis the National Medal of Arts.

The Tillis family asks for your prayers and will soon release more information regarding funeral services in Florida and Nashville.



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