Country music legend Mel Tillis dies at 85

Posted at 11:26 AM, Nov 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-19 11:43:43-05

OCALA, Fla. (FOX NEWS) — Country music singer Mel Tillis, whose six-decade career included hits such as “I Ain’t Never” and “Coca Cola Cowboy,” died on Sunday, his publicist confirmed.

He was 85.

Tillis passed away at Munroe Regional Medical Center in Ocala, Fla., his publicist said.

Tillis was previously inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and Grand Ole Opry, the Tennessean reported.

Former President Barack Obama awarded Tillis the National Medal of Arts in 2012.

Last January, Tillis was receiving home care following surgery and treatment for a digestive disease.

His publicist, Don Murry Grubbs, said in a statement that Tillis also was hospitalized in Nashville a year ago with diverticulitis and later underwent colon surgery. Grubb said Tillis was recovering at that time at his home in Ocala, “where he is being cared for by nurses as needed” and getting physical therapy.

The singer-songwriter, who was known for his trademark stutter, penned hit songs for artists, including Kenny Rogers and Randy Travis. He also recorded dozens of top hits on his own, despite the stutter, which didn’t affect his singing voice.