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

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Country music star Mel Tillis has died, the Tennessean reported, citing a publicist.

After earning his first charting country single with "The Violet and a Rose", Tillis established himself as a songwriter with hits like "Ruby (Don't Take Your Love to Town)", "Mental Revenge" and Peggy Lee's "Emotions".

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.

The Country Music Hall of Famer leaves behind six children (Pam Tillis, Connie Tillis, Cindy Shorey, Sonny Tillis, Carrie April Tillis, and Hannah Puryear), six grandchildren, a great grandson, a sister (Linda Crosby) and brother (Richard Tillis), the mother of five of his children (Doris Tillis), and his longtime partner (Kathy DeMonaco).

The American country music hitmaker passed way earlier today at Florida's Munroe Regional Medical Center.

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He is said to have died from respiratory failure. "There will never be another Mel Tillis!".

The singer-songwriter had written over 60 albums through his career, having over 10 top 10 singles throughout his career. It wasn't a commercial success, but the group was nominated for vocal event of the year by the Country Music Association. He developed the stutter as a child after a bout with malaria.

Tillis began recording in the late 1950s and continued to perform through 2015, but remained best known for a string of No. 1 country hits in the late '70s, along with a succession of appearances in Hollywood movies alongside Burt Reynolds and Clint Eastwood that helped make him a household name even outside the country music sphere.

He joined the U.S. Air Force and was stationed as a baker in Okinawa, where he formed a band called the Westerners. In February 2012, President Obama awarded Tillis the National Medal of Arts. His family plans to announce funeral arrangements in Nashville and Florida soon.




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