Country Music Legend Mel Tillis Passes | Absolute Publicity
20 November, 2017, 02:10
Mel Tillis, whose career as a country singer and the writer of enduring hit songs like "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town" earned him a place in the Country Music Hall of Fame and a National Medal of Arts - but who was equally well known for the stutter he employed to humorous and self-deprecating effect onstage - died Sunday in Ocala, Florida.
His other No. 1 hits were "I Ain't Never" in 1972, "Good Woman Blues" in 1976, "Heart Healer" in 1976, "I Believe in You" in 1978.
According to the Tennessean, Tillis died early Sunday morning at the Munroe Regional Medical Center in Ocala, Fla. after nearly two years of ill health stemming from a bout of diverticulitis, for which he received surgery. He had six No. 1 singles and more than 30 top 10 hits and was named the Country Music Association's entertainer of the year in 1976.
Lonnie Melvin Tillis was born on August 8, 1932, in Tampa, Florida.
Tributes from fellow country music stars poured in on social media, with musician and "The Voice" judge Blake Shelton describing Tillis' death as "a truly devastating loss". He developed a speech impediment after a childhood bout of malaria, the Tennessean reported. Mel Tillis always put on a show....
The heroic American joined the US Air Force to serve in the Korean War and was stationed in Okinawa, where he served the country by cooking and singing on Armed Forces Radio. "The more I go onstage", he said, "and feel my independence and that power over audiences, the less I stutter".
In February 2012 he was awarded the National Medal of Arts - the highest honor given to artists by the USA government - by President Barack Obama.
The Tillis family said they plan to announce funeral arrangements for Nashville and Florida soon.
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